On Friday, May 17 13FOREST Gallery will open Tangent,an exhibition of new and recent work by Boston-area artists Mary O’Malley and Rebecca Roberts. Together the artists’ admiration for everything from mathematics to architectural and textile history is evident. In a range of materials that includes ink, gouache, cloth, gold leaf and paper, their work is meditatively detailed and, though nonrepresentational, derived from direct observation of the world.
About the Artists
Mary O’Malley categorizes many of her meticulously rendered works on paper as temples, gardens, mandalas and mental maps. In each, white and gold lines on black paper produce flat or deeply recessed space that shimmers and enfolds like field flora, Baroque and Islamic building details, or complex thought patterns. O’Malley has an ability to draw viewers in to see dominant patterns that give way to minute, freely rendered details. Within each world, other worlds exist. O’Malley studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and at the New York School of Visual Arts. Her work has been shown around the world, from the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln to the American Embassy in Dubai.
Rebecca Roberts joins and stretches textiles to abstract from the world qualities such as dimension, weight and gravity, and recomposes them into nonrepresentational environments. At first glance the artist’s aesthetic can be linked with the quilting tradition, but her process and intentions are a strong departure from it. While quilting utilizes scraps of fabric to give form to predetermined patterns, Roberts arrives at arrangements from long experiments with materials that differ from each other in color, texture and density. Painterly in appearance, her work can be at rest or dynamic – as varied as the world from which they come. Roberts received her MFA from the University of Iowa and studied at Alfred University. Her work is included in the recently published New American Paintings, and has been shown in a number of venues including Carroll and Sons and Proof Gallery in Boston.