The Curious Collections of Professors Maloney and Fox
Artists are often great collectors, amassing things that charm, fascinate and inspire them.
Curatorial statement by Carson Fox
Professors Jennifer Maloney and Carson Fox share a passion for assembling objects that often lend a voice – sometimes in a whisper and sometimes with a shout – to their artworks. In this exhibition, Maloney and Fox share some of their artworks and the collections that helped bring them to light.
Art history is rife with collectors. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) was devoted to his acquiring habit (that often went tragically unchecked) and his vast troves of “exotic” items, including costumes, feathers and seashells, are evidenced throughout his paintings and prints. American artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972, Flushing, New York) composed his famous boxes and collages with items he hunted for in flea markets, junk shops, and dime stores. Here, he sought an ineffable spirit in his finds, and claiming his treasures “vibrated” with their ghosts.
So it is with Professor Maloney and Professor Fox. Jennifer Maloney’s childhood was marked by her parent’s idiosyncratic collections that urged her forward to amass her own galaxy of coveted and quirky objects. For Maloney, collecting is synonymous with ritual. She feels an inherited obligation to see, document, and save the mundane objects of daily life. Her delightful collections of colored spoons, bottle caps and doll furniture (to name just a few) take centerstage in many of her paintings and even her accumulation of spent teabags motivated elegant portraits of the bags bathed in tea. Professor Maloney’s work celebrates the humble object. In her collections they become quasi-religious talismans to be respected and revered.
Professor Fox shares in these material pleasures and the quest for the spirited prize. Her deep affection for the history of printmaking has inspired caboodles of 19th-century prints and books that feature the mesmerizing craft of engraving. These prints contributed to brightly colored digital compositions of dueling butterflies and birds, as well as her manipulated portraits of individuals whose glory has long past. There are also 1930s flower tie-back pins that inspired many, many more flowers, a menagerie of old candy containers shaped as rabbits, birds and other creatures, vintage labels and seed packets plus other things hidden under her bed that her husband doesn’t know about. Please don’t tell him.
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