Los Angeles—Sam Lee Gallery is pleased to present Loaded, featuring ink drawings by Boston-based artist Mary O’Malley and acrylic and graphite drawings by Salt Lake City-based artist Laura Sharp Wilson. Using paper as their primary medium, both artists individually create work that’s quite rich in the layering of forms and patterns. Loaded examines their interest in depicting something that has been imagined before it is drawn. Both O’Malley and Wilson conjure a world or system that’s entirely their own. They do not draw from living motifs. Rather, O’Malley and Wilson prefer artificial sources—often creating an alternate “natural” universe where hybridization is the modus operandi.
O’Malley’s recent work depicts quasi-architectural or mosque-like structures that are densely rendered with gold metallic ink on velvety black paper and conflates Baroque ornamentation with Islamic sensibilities. The minimum palette emphasizes the complexity of details and the rigorous orderliness of patterns. Against the stark background, O’Malley’s “organic” structures operate between untamed energies and orderly systems; they pulsate and arrest at the same time.
Wilson’s recent series of brightly colored, acrylic and graphite paintings on paper is her least figurative and most complex to date. Continuing her interest to convey clarity amidst chaos, the artist explores the contradictory world by portraying systems of delineated and meticulously rendered forms that collide and intertwine in concentrated compositions—a poetic reference to the everyday struggle. Wilson, who studied painting and color theory (Washington DC abstractionist Sam Gilliam was her mentor) and textile design, works primarily with Unryu—a Japanese mulberry paper that’s semi-translucent with long threads running through and preferred by Wilson for its tactile, fibrous quality. Her visual language is deeply rooted in her fascination with cloth patterns that range from Constructivist textile designs to 18th century Indian palampore.
Mary O’Malley received her MFA in painting from School of Visual Arts (New York) in 2005 and BFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1997. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Artists’ Foundation (Boston), Mazmanian Gallery at Framingham State University (MA), and Locco Ritoro Gallery (Boston); her group exhibitions include DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (Lincoln, Massachusetts), Tufts University Art Gallery (Medford, MA), and Green Mountain Cultural Center (Waitsfield, Vermont). O’Malley’s drawings have been published in New American Paintings (no. 26 & no. 68) and are in the collection of Art in Embassies, US State Department for the United States Consulate Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Laura Sharp Wilson, who was born in San Juan (Puerto Rico) and grew up on both sides of the Hudson River, received her MFA from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1996) and BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1987). She has been featured in exhibitions throughout the United States: solo shows at McKenzie Fine Art in New York, Friesen Gallery in Seattle, and Duke Institute for the Arts in Durham (North Carolina). Her work has also been included in various group exhibitions at Hunterdon Art Museum (Clinton, New Jersey), The Nicolaysen Art Museum (Casper, Wyoming), and Nox Contemporary (Salt Lake City, Utah). Wilson currently works and lives in Salt Lake City.
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