Objects fascinate me: their function, form, and the value we place
on them. In my work, I seek a balance between the documentation
of a moment and the monumental iconic quality of the ordinary
object. I find myself fascinated by the exquisite care in crafting
objects that are ultimately created for consumption or disposal.
Recently, I have become interested in 17th century
Wunderkammers or Cabinets of Curiosity. These collections of objects,
specimens, antiques, and oddities were created to educate, but
they did so much more. They created questions about class and
value. Often they would contain a mixture of fact and fiction.
My recent paintings are wunderkammers of sorts. I paint everyday,
recognizable objects. I paint the mundane and useless. I paint
antiques and heirlooms. I paint gifts and tools. I paint objects
as stand-in's for people. I paint humorous, ironic, iconic, beautiful,
ugly, kitsch things. I paint my autobiography. I paint memories.
My drawings and paintings always start from observed
fact. My process begins with the shapes, forms, and color present
in the subject. The light changes and shadows move and I try to
document the experience of my long looking. Each object becomes
a part to the whole, a document of a day. I remove these objects
from their function and present them to the viewer in a new context.
I want the viewer to question these relationships and to make
The pockets of abstraction within the most ordinary,
everyday object interest me. There is a tiny self-contained color
field painting within a cup of tea. A universe of shape and color
exists across a cellophane wrapper. This experience of color on
form is most important to me.
I believe that certain objects reveal something
about who we are. I don't want to explain them. I don't think
that I could if I tried. But, I want to present them so that they
can be evocative in an existential way. I often use food as a
subject to evoke cultural and psychological associations and to
provide a dense, substantial visual experience. I wish for the
sculptural integrity of the food as an object to contrast thematically
with its ephemerality. The notions of transience, appetite, and
need are important to me. I ask the viewer to see beyond representation
to metaphor. To see beyond need to desire, in all of its forms.
Jennifer Maloney is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. where
she lives and works. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College.
She is currently teaching at Adelphi University and has taught
at the Rhode Island School of Design and New York Institute of