May 30—June 3, 2012 –
Reception June 1st – 7 PM – 9:30 PM
Opening comments by CBC's Shelagh Rogers
Artscape Triangle Gallery
38 Abell Street, Toronto, ON M6J 0A2
Jeff Molloy is a farmer of art. He likes to get his hands dirty, using humble and ordinary materials to create multidimensional, multisensory works that elicit an emotional response from the people who experience them, and bring energy to the spaces they inhabit.
“The paintings are reminiscent of Gathie Falk’s early pictures of dresses and chairs set in gardens: familiar but slightly surreal, capricious yet vaguely unsettling. The rich surfaces of mixed media, including his use of encaustic, give the artworks an earthy, home-spun appearance.”
Mia Johnson, Preview Magazine
Molloy employs a wide variety of distinctive techniques, tools, and personal processes that result in truly unique, instantly recognizable work.
Jeff is curious. His creativity shifts and twists in response to his materials. Beeswax, tar, organic pigments extracted from a variety of plant life and minerals, found remnants of human civilization – all react differently to the tools and techniques he employs. Carving, painting, sculpting, applying heat and blunt force all contribute to objects that may resemble paintings, yet may just as easily be mechanical and functional in nature.
To Molloy, line is a physical thing, something that is cut and gouged. His surfaces are built up and scraped away. Jeff uses homemade tools to draw, paint, carve and burnish his surfaces of wax and tar until they reflect their own history.
“I've always believed that experimentation, not technical skill, is at the core of creativity. Artists should be explorers, and the world of art should remain a place without rules or boundaries.”
In 1995 Molloy encountered a photograph of Jasper Johns’ famous encaustic work, Flag. Almost immediately, he began to experiment with encaustic. He comments, “I recognized in Johns’ piece a number of aspects that have become paramount in my own work. The impact, power and inherent meaning of cultural artifacts such as flags and how they can be used to evoke emotion and memory...I wanted my work to mimic the real thing but, as an art piece, be more interesting than the motif itself.” Molloy achieves this by tapping into these emotions and memories and presenting them as highly articulated works of art.
The encaustic works tread the line between painting and sculpture. Where paintings tend to provide context for their subjects, Molloy’s pieces intentionally strip away everything but the object itself. “The context for the work is the environment in which it is shown. It just makes sense to me that the space should play a role in the perception of the work,” comments Molloy.
About the Artist
Jeff Molloy spent many childhood summers in Ontario’s cottage country. His interest in art was already strong when he had the good fortune to meet celebrated artist A.Y. Jackson at the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinberg, where A.Y. lived as artist in residence for the last six years of his life.
“We sat in the shade of an old maple and chatted about art and life,” says Molloy. “At the time I didn't really know who he was, but I liked his kindness and generosity in sharing his stories about art. That experience made an indelible impression on me.”
Molloy went on to study art at the Victoria College of Art and never looked back. His work has been shown in galleries from Toronto to Fort Saint John. It sustains his family and lifestyle on Gabriola Island, BC, where he now lives and works full-time as an artist.
Due North – The Show
Molloy has always been fascinated with Canadian history and culture, and his recent work embraces a strong First Nation and Metis influence. Mia Johnson of Preview Magazine describes Molloy as a Canadian artist whose work “focuses on the cultural symbols of Canada.”
Molloy says, “I want to create work that tells the story of the people, the history, the objects and the legends that are the fabric of Canada. And I think it's important to tell the whole story.” Gregory Scofield, one of Canada’s leading aboriginal writers describes Jeff’s work as “very powerful medicine that captures the spirit.”
Molloy's life-sized encaustic ‘point blanket’ paintings signify far more than a warm covering to protect us from the cold. These blankets are the woolly essence of Canada. They hint of wood smoke and weary trappers, of exploration and exploitation, canoes and commerce, the history of a people and the making of a nation.
Molloy’s latest show, Due North, has its roots in such Canadian lore. Old canoe paddles, hockey sweaters, mixed media cabinets that portray legends like Louis Riel, historical and Canadian flags hanging from old farm fragments, and the blankets tell Canada’s rugged northern story in compelling colour and dimensions.
“Jeff Molloy's work has been capturing the spirit of Canada long before the rest of the world caught on during the Olympics. His paintings are pointed, often funny, and always make you think. He is one of this country's leading editorial artists...these paintings, like the country itself, are just beautiful to look at. Jeff Molloy is one of the most original artists at work in Canada today”.
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