Hello readers!

I am pleased to announce that in December I was chosen as one of five 2012 Calligram Falcon Fellows. The Calligram Falcon Fellowship is Oregon's largest visual arts fellowship. For more information, please see the press release, and visit Falcon Arts Community and Calligram Portland.

This fellowship program caps off a successful year of painting. In 2011 I painted and showed a series of 5 6'x5' and 5'x5' paintings, and completed some smaller work. The series title is "Ghosts as Cocoons". The webpage will soon be updated with this material. In the meantime, here's a preview!

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Ghosts as Cocoons. 2011. 6'x5', Oil on Canvas

As of three weeks ago, I've settled into my new studio in the Falcon Arts Community, where I'm starting a series of two 6'x5' feather paintings as well as work on my next major painting series, inspired by the Dame a la Licorne tapestries in the Cluny.
VI.
Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

-From Sunday Afternoon, Wallace Stevens

These paintings came from the desire to move my previous series, The Stare's Nest, in a more minimal direction. As I began drawing compositions, I was haunted by the ghosts of figures that I erased and moved to new locations on the canvas. These ghosts became essential both to the composition and to the way I began to think about the series. I wanted to paint the transformation of one living thing becoming another: a natural alchemy.

Aesthetically and technically, my paintings have been influenced by 17th century Dutch painting. The canvases take substantial priming and preparation, followed by a period of drawing and revision before any painting occurs. I use glazing to create more atmospheric darks and luminous lights.

Aesthetically, I am fascinated by the way Dutch still life painters depict decay. Jan Davidsz de Heem's Vase with flowers, c.1670 (Mauritshuis collection, Den Haag) was a primary inspiration. It beautifully represents a pantheon of imperfections, rot, insects and blemishes that the viewer perceives after the first impression of one of the most vividly and skillfully painted still lifes extant. The flowers are captured across all moments in their lifespan--bud, bloom and decay--and the arrangement contains flowers from incompatible seasons, extracted from time in a way that is both splendid and impossible. The imperfections and blemishes on the fruit are embraced. They expand the scope of time and reality in the painting--the preciousness of the moment of fully ripe fruit and blooming flowers.
 
Jan Davidsz. de Heem 008

In Ghosts as Cocoons, many of the birds are dead and some are doubled, captured in two possible moments. I am not certain whether there are many moths surrounding the birds, or whether I have painted one moth and found a pattern in its constant movement. In my previous work I used moths only as a compositional element whereas in this series they have become structurally and conceptually integral to the paintings. The patterns of moths that surround the birds are modeled after the stamped golden nimbuses that encircle the heads of saints in medieval art, and they are transferred onto the canvas in a manner that resembles stamping. I envision them as a natural counterpart to a nimbus, made not of gold but of living, moving insects.

I rely heavily on literature and poetry for inspiration, and for the last several years my imagery has been influenced by Yeats, Stevens, and Keats, all of whom make extensive use of birds. The poems from which I drew my titles, My Descendants, Ghosts as Cocoons, and To Autumn, all deal with the same issues of fruitfulness and decay that I have been exploring. I also think of these painting as seasonal, Ghosts as Cocoons being a spring painting, Flourish and Decline summer, The Half-Reaped Furrow fall, and Fearful Symmetry a winter painting.


Artist Statement Maine-Salk.d2.pdf
I began work on The Stare's Nest at the beginning of 2008. Influenced by the subtractive process in intaglio, where a printer teases out the shades of figures from a completely dark plate, I developed paintings in which incomplete portions of birds and feathers penetrate, emerge from and are obscured by a Northern Renaissance-inspired glazed black background. The title The Stare's Nest is drawn from the sixth section of Yeats' Meditations in Time of Civil War, in which Yeats invokes a counter-world inhabited by birds and insects: a nest built in the crumbling masonry of a building is a new source of life, expediting the decay of the human past and standing outside the scope of the violence and unnecessary death of war. The productive play between our ability to identify with the lived world of birds and its fundamental unfathomableness and otherness is a source of beauty, sublimity and horror, and I attempt to capture this dynamic in The Stare's Nest. In the paintings shown at Lille, I incorporate touches of landscape (branches and grass) to address the cyclical aspects of Meditations that are rooted in the seasonality of landscape and place.

Molly Maine, 24, concentrated in visual arts and literature at Sarah Lawrence College. She studied intaglio and multi-plate color etching with Sweitlan Kraczyna in Italy. Along with her own painting, Molly apprentices with Mahaffey Fine Arts and paints sets at Portland Center Stage.
Hello everyone!

I have an opening coming up Friday, Nov 6th from 6-9 PM at Lille Boutique. This show continues my work on The Stare's Nest series. The paintings at Lille are smaller and more intimate than the five by fives at this summer's show, with some new imagery of birch branches and grass. I intend to work quite large for my next two shows, so this is likely to be the last show with small work until next summer.

I'm very excited about this show not only because the work is strong and Lille is a great boutique, but because a friend of mine (Hilary Horvath) is producing the floral arrangements and the opening is concurrent with a trunk show featuring Gretchen Jones' lingerie line Moth Love and Anna Korte's AK Vintage jewelry. I've been impressed with Moth Love in the past and enjoyed Anna Korte's work at Contact '09. All of the work will be a good fit together, and I'm pleased to show with such a creative group of local designers.

There will be free wine, food, art, good company, and some of the best local lingerie and jewelry Portland has to offer. I hope to see you there!

Lille Boutique
1007 E Burnside (NE 10th and E Burnside)
Portland, OR 97214
503-232-0333
Opening: Friday, Nov 6th, 6 PM to 9 PM

Blurb-size Artist's Statement:
I began work on The Stare's Nest at the beginning of 2008. Influenced by the subtractive process in intaglio, where a printer teases out the shades of figures from a completely dark plate, I developed paintings in which incomplete portions of birds and feathers penetrate, emerge from and are obscured by a Northern Renaissance-inspired glazed black background. The title The Stare's Nest is drawn from the sixth section of Yeats' Meditations in Time of Civil War, in which Yeats invokes a counter-world inhabited by birds and insects: a nest built in the crumbling masonry of a building is a new source of life, expediting the decay of the human past and standing outside the scope of the violence and unnecessary death of war. The productive play between our ability to identify with the lived world of birds and its fundamental unfathomableness and otherness is a source of beauty, sublimity and horror, and I attempt to capture this dynamic in The Stare's Nest. In the paintings shown at Lille, I incorporate touches of landscape (branches and grass) to address the cyclical aspects of Meditations that are rooted in the seasonality of landscape and place.

Molly Maine, 24, concentrated in visual arts and literature at Sarah Lawrence College. She studied intaglio and multi-plate color etching with Sweitlan Kraczyna in Italy. Along with her own painting, Molly apprentices with Mahaffey Fine Arts and paints sets at Portland Center Stage.
This series of paintings began as prints. In making the Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird series, I began thinking about the relationship between the subject of an image and its background differently than in my past work. The subtractive process in intaglio, starting from a completely dark plate and teasing out the shades of figures, led me to conceptualize the relationship between object and background as indefinite. Figures are only hinted at, and the value of the prints is dark with very little contrast. I continued developing this idea at a multi-plate color etching workshop in Barga, Italy, and transitioning back into color triggered the idea for these paintings.

While I had previously painted primarily abstract work, this set of prints encouraged me to work figuratively and in close engagement with poetry. The Stare's Nest paintings comprise visualizations of the refrains common to some of Yeats' most compelling poems, in which a repetitive and often apocalyptic or prophetic voice intrudes on the primary narrative voice of the poem. These interruptions often relate to birds and their cries or song. Yeats' birds, wherever they occur, straddle the boundaries of beauty, horror, familiarity and complete otherness.

The birds in The Stare's Nest are simultaneously natural/representational and abstract/otherworldly, both beautiful and horrific. Incomplete portions of figures emerge from a Dutch-influenced enveloping black background. Feathers stand alone but simultaneously refer to a missing presence, and in their falling they seem to pass through the surface of the canvas. This penetrability of surface also references certain African cave paintings in which animals emerge and disappear into the rock wall: painters envisioned the natural features of the rock surface, its crevices and irregularities, as passages through which the animal figures traverse. The rock wall may have been seen as a veil, and the animal figures something liminal, in the same manner as birds in Yeats' poems straddle the natural and preternatural world.

Molly Maine was born in Marin County, CA, and raised in San Diego. She concentrated in visual arts and literature at Sarah Lawrence College, and studied intaglio and multi-plate color etching with Sweitlan Kraczyna in Italy. Molly apprentices with Mahaffey Fine Arts, paints sets at Portland Center Stage, and lives with her boyfriend and amicable but savage cat.
The Stare's Nest opens tonight at Coffeehouse NW in Portland Oregon, from 5:00 - 8:00 PM.

Coffeehouse NW
1951 W Burnside Blvd (corner of W Burnside & NW Trinity)
Portland OR 97209

On display are five new paintings from my 2008-2009 series The Stare's Nest, as well as a sequence of prints based on Wallace Steven's Poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

If you can not make the opening, the show will be up from the 1st of July to the 30th of August, so please come check it out!