Maureen Cavanaugh. Courtesy of 31 Grand.
Stay With Me, an exhibition of new paintings and ceramic sculptures by Maureen Cavanaugh, opens November 14th 2008. In her second solo exhibition with 31GRAND, Cavanaugh presents a myriad of subtle contradictions in her lovingly expressive paintings and sculptures to define vulnerability, resilience, and strength.
Cavanaugh playfully fuses public and private using her distinctive style of depicting figures and objects against flat patterned backgrounds to join the interior self, family and friends alongside public icons such as Hillary Clinton and Britney Spears. The figures are posed in comfortable settings (i.e. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin a family gathering spot), exuding a luminous and vibrant perspective on intimacy. This idealized reality results in a prevailing harmony that feels at once familiar and elusive.
For the first time, the artist has included small ceramic sculptures. These intricate figures animate the subjects that populate the paintings. With the older woman playing cards and the youthful girl driving a convertible, humor is present. Cavanaugh uses this sculptural element to contradict the overt flatness of two-dimensional painting. Real flowers in a ceramic vase are juxtaposed with the still life paintings.
Paintings are assembled to create a tapestry of woven stories and ideas. What the artist calls her “compulsory paintings” are small studies that allow her to investigate subject matter on an intuitive level. Assembled together in a large-scale collage, the images include brightly colored still lifes of flowers, a twirling dancer, reclining girls, a dying plant. Like small, tightly cropped snapshots, they display a delicate fragility with the tender treatment of the subject matter.
Maureen Cavanaugh was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She received her BFA from College of Santa Fe in 1999. Cavanaugh had a recent solo exhibition at Jackson Artworks, Omaha, Nebraska entitled, “The Past is Present.” Group exhibitions include “Art on the Edge” at the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, “Interested Painting” at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Gallery 400, “Contemporary Painting” at the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine curated by Alex Katz. Her work is part of the permanent collection at the Joslyn Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – MCASD La Jolla. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.