Marja Vallila: Recent Work
From August 23 – October 2, 2004 Zabriskie Gallery exhibits the recent work of Marja Vallila in a variety of media: pop-up collage, ceramic sculpture, film installation, and digital prints. Viewed together the exuberant and colorful works display a cyclical evolution as her pop-up collages spring into organic fully three-dimensional ceramic sculptures, which she further animates in digital film and then recaptures in two-dimensional form as digital prints.
Initially a metal sculptor, Marja Vallila turned to slip-cast ceramics in 2000 after a visit to the ceramic museum of Deruta in Italy piqued her interest in color. Her recent polychromatic sculptures—both wall-mounted and free-standing—reveal a continuing love and exploration of color and dynamic form. She combines pieces cast from banal, functional objects found on Canal Street into twisting, surprising, and humorous sculptures. The final forms are almost amphibian-looking biomorphic creations that “verge on the vessel yet avoid a central, open void” (John Perrault).
Marja Vallila’s exuberant yet intricate looping shapes “merge back again into an indescribable whole” (Milan Hlaves). Indeed, this holds true for the show as a whole, as her pieces evolve in an interconnected manner. Her sculptures seem to spring forth from her highly-textured three-dimensional collages, which she began creating in 2003 by combining woodblock, gouache, and cut paper. Her digital films further animate the sculptures. In 2002 Vallila started filming the separate pieces of her sculptures and using them as the subjects of her raw, experimental films. These films emphasize and enhance the dynamism of her art through their rhythmic fades and fluid overlaps. Once brought to life, she recaptures her sculptural “actors” in the two-dimensional form of digital prints. In spite of the flatness of the medium, her use of layered transparencies subtly explores space within the two-dimensional realm. Although the look of spontaneity belies the artist’s highly involved processes, her sense of playfulness, color, energy and humor is evident throughout.
Marja Vallila was born in Prague in 1950. She attended universities in the United States and Paris, and received her MFA from Cornell in 1975. Her first solo show was at Zabriskie Gallery in 1977. She has had solo shows at the Newark Museum (1979), Springfield Museum (1979), Seoul Art Center (2001), U Prestenu Gallery (2001), Nancy Margolis Gallery (2000), and Chodovska Tvrz, Czech Republic, (2003) and was included in the show “Study in Materials” at Storm King in 1978 along with Nevelson, Smith, Lassaw, Calder, Hesse and Baizerman. Her films have been screened at Millenium (2003/2004), Two Boots Pioneer Theater (2003/2004), and Zabriskie Gallery (2002). She currently lives and works in New York City.
Visit our website www.zabriskiegallery.com for further information. Please join us at a reception to view the exhibition on Friday September 10, from 6 – 8 pm. The artist will be present.