After winding your way up the grey, industrial stairwell of the warehouse building which houses her studio, Allison Maletz’s large-scale, watercolored “Nana” towers over you in warm greeting. A bright teal tracksuit tucks around her comfortable curves while retro shades, now considered a stylish shape, are perched confidently on her nose; a familiar tan purse hangs from one hand while the other casually grips a leg. Perhaps the leg of a deer? It is not entirely clear, but it is undoubtedly disconcerting.
Much of Maletz’s work overtly highlights the familial, familiar and affectionate but dissonant and sometimes vaguely menacing threads are woven throughout her work. The effect is startling and occasionally mesmerizing, especially given Maletz’s technique and approach. Using old and new photographs of friends and family, Maletz revives the insipid, infusing these relatively prosaic images with her own perspective. Her paintings provide fresh interpretations of photographic portraits, which often leave the subjects posing easily or awkwardly but steadily returning the gaze of the viewer. In her iterations, subjects are often depicted against a perfectly white background, allowing the vibrant and mottled aspect of the watercolor, the intricate patterns within neckties, sweaters or camouflage, and the complexity of her facial expressions emerge without competition.
Check out the opening of Maletz’s latest show with her studio mate, David Pettibone, Interdependent, this Thursday, September 20th from 7 – 9pm at YASHAR Gallery, located at 276 Greenpoint Ave (between Newel and Jewel), curated by Elizabeth Lamb. Continue reading