About the Artist
Molly Magai’s paintings express an interest in vision, speed, and the beauty of the world as well as its potential destruction at the hands of mankind. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a Seattle resident since 1992. She is represented by studio e gallery in Seattle and her work has been displayed at many venues in the U.S. including Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle; Denise Bibro Fine Art and ABC No Rio in New York City; Ellsworth Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Massachusetts; the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester, Vermont; and Collar Works in Troy, New York. She received a BA in painting and drawing from Bennington College and attended the State University of New York’s Studio Program at Empire State College in New York City.
My paintings capture the landscape created by the continuous growth of industrial and transportation infrastructure. Through them I express my interests in both the act of perception and the ways humans interact with the natural world.
Structures like freeways, container stacks, and shipping cranes are made for human convenience. The industrial landscape, crisscrossed with roads, power lines, and train tracks, grows in an unplanned way, and is full of surprises. It can resemble the natural landscape in its many-layered complexity. Also, although its existence and purpose is in conflict with nature, nature is still present in this environment. For example, trees planted next to the highway are put there as a windscreen and to hide the industrial view, but they are still just trees, ancient and complex life forms. Painting both its natural and man-made elements, I work to make this landscape visible in both its destructiveness and its beauty.
I paint the landscape in motion, as we usually see it, from our cars. I work from photographs that I take from a moving vehicle. The image is filtered through the windshield, and then through a camera, before I paint it. Using a 500-year-old medium, oil painting, I faithfully reproduce halos and blurs that result from the camera’s inability to cope with motion and low light. In this way I contrast the natural process of eyesight, and the old process of painting, with newer, technological processes, just as nature and technology are contrasted in the landscape itself.