The act of weaving strands together has numerous reference points for the artist—including the braiding of friends’ hair, the notion of “women’s work,” umbilical cords and a Bottega Venetta ad for a purse of twined leather, which was the direct impetus for this composition. The twisting continues spreading over the figure’s bikini and headband. The Sony Discman that accompanies the figure subtly marks the age of the subject, artist and viewer. Malaska’s compositions frequently depict women who are unafraid of displaying their emotions, desires and potential.
Speaking of the artist's work, Ashley Stull Meyers says: "Aspiring to the legacies of artists Jay DeFeo and Carolee Schneemann, Malaska’s considerations of female bodies are produced as wholly other—as occupying a space that is of their own supposed imagination and development. The figures, casually revealed more than boldly exposed, generate a surface that dimensionally supports a plane of the unreal. Their bodies are containers for not merely a biological specificity, but a defiant autonomy and nonchalant insistence on their additional value. Their mental states—aspirations, desires and prideful confidences—are evidenced in the abundance of contemporary iconography Malaska expertly positions.”
Elizabeth Malaska’s paintings depict the female body occupying spaces of their own imagination—a strategy that casually reveals, rather than boldly exposes, these figures. The artist’s work draws inspiration from Jay DeFeo and Carolee Schneemann in compositions that expertly employ contemporary iconography. Malaska’s subjects are unafraid to either dream or weep, and their bodies remain defiantly autonomous.
Elizabeth Malaska was born in Portland, Oregon in 1978. The artist received a Masters in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College in Portland, Oregon in 2011, and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California in 2006.
Solo exhibitions of Malaska’s work have taken place at: the Schneider Museum in Ashland, Oregon; and Russo Lee Gallery in Portland, Oregon; among others.
Group exhibitions of Malaska’s work have taken place at: Alter Space in San Francisco, California; James Harris Gallery in Seattle, Washington; the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon; and Oregon Contemporary in Portland, Oregon; among others.
Malaska’s work is held in numerous public collections, including: the Hallie Ford Museum in Salem, Oregon; the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon; the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, Oregon; and the Strauss Family Foundation in Solana Beach, California.
In 2021, Malaska was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. The artist was a Joan Mitchell Foundation grantee in 2018.
Malaska lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
The act of weaving strands together has numerous reference points for the artist— including the braiding of friends’ hair, the notion of “women’s work,” umbilical cords and a Bottega Venetta ad for a purse of twined leather, which was the direct impetus for this composition.More