‘Beyond’ is a term easily applied to descriptions communicating the formal qualities of MaryKate Maher’s work. One can call her work beyond representation, beyond abstraction, beyond (yet referential of) the body. On view through October 7th at FORMah gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Maher’s “Beyond the Mauve Zone” offers new works by the artist spanning sculpture and works on paper, peering into the soft-focus, Rorschach vision that MaryKate hints at to viewers of her work. The gallery, located at 42 Allen Street, offers a fitting space to explore the artist’s gradient-laden, abstracted two- and three-dimensional works.
Embracing organic, curvilinear forms, Maher delights in surprising contrasts in her work, placing allusions to anthropomorphism throughout her compositions. Works on view are best contemplated at length, gazing at sharp lines splitting soft gradients into seemingly symmetrical sectors of the picture plane. Negative space is elegantly ascribed meaning in this powerful solo showing of new works by the artist.
Works on view in this FORMah gallery exhibit plunge fearlessly into a range of compositional styles and scales. Combining tiny details within sweeping surfaces, Maher’s nuanced approach to building suspense in her works serves her well. Equal parts quartz geodes and dreamscapes, her work reveals soft contours that fascinate viewers, leading to speculation as to what lies just beyond the surface.
Precise applications of color theory, along with textural experiments in plaster and resin, speak to the artist’s deft realization of her vision in works exhibited primarily from her recent ‘vessel and reliquary’ series. No stone is left unturned in these harmonious juxtapositions that embrace just enough while steering clear of maximalism or easy categorization.
While it can be easy to draw lines to modern artists, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, in these abstracted compositions, hints of the Memphis Group reside in this exhibition as well. Surprising and delicate juxtapositions of line, saturation, and curvature provide something new to the viewer from every angle. While works exhibited in “Beyond the Mauve Zone” share definite formal similarities, each seems to take a step in a new, exhilarating direction, beckoning the visitor to go just ‘beyond’ what is in their sight.
“Beyond the Mauve Zone” speaks to MaryKate Maher’s ability to leap into the unknown, to create chasms just beyond the visible in pastel hues and jewel tones that evokes a cherished, precious object linked to the viewer’s imagination. Playful yet timeless, this stunning solo show remains on view at FORMah gallery, 42 Allen St until October 14th.
Guests can visit the space to view these works Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12-6 PM.
Audra Lambert is a freelance arts contributor and independent curator based in New York City. Her articles can be found in Whitehot Mag, Art Nerd NY, Artefuse, Examiner and more. The author focuses on participatory and public art projects with an emphasis on emerging and established female artists. She is co-founder of alt_break art fair, a nonprofit art fair fostering dialogue between community-based social justice nonprofits and the arts. Currently completing a Master’s thesis in Modern/Contemporary Art at City College of New York, her curated projects and ongoing coverage of interdisciplinary art projects can be found on ANTE. (www.antecedentprojects.com), an online art platform showcasing contemporary arts and culture, which may or may not be secretly run by llamas on Mars.