I often paint strangers
how’s your mother?
I am drawn to people who spend a lot of time in one place
who sit in the same chair
and are fixed tightly into spaces
gentle hums percolating from wrinkled lips
I am lured to the accumulated weight of the domestic
tiny foreheads mashed against a window pane
I experience bodies through the painted body and its impressions
bowed fingernails tapping on woodgrain
in pursuit of crucial lines
quivering television glow
tracing and disputing the current
on rosé wine lips
I negotiate with the characters
watch the weather
swaying between exclusion and affirmation
I make suggestions
curled toes on carpet
moments of emergence repeat
how’s your mother?
Faces and gestures from older work haunt and contaminate the new
do you want to hear my story or not?
resurrecting emotional content from moments we shared
It’s all the same to me
I want to explore intimate moments with sincerity – to catch a moment and hold onto its most essential parts. I am drawn to hushed energy, the sedentary and domestic, and the accumulated weight of a household; to people who spend a lot of time in one place, who sit in a particular chair and are woven, willingly or not, into a situation.
Many of the paintings begin by spending time with someone. Others extract from photos, drawings, and videos. In my studio, I attempt to begin again, to revisit the moment. Everyday tasks such as manicures, haircuts, or transferring a body from a bed to a chair are given importance. Bodies are seated on thrones made of wheelchairs, recliners, hospital beds and jail mattresses. Faces and gestures from older work sometimes haunt and contaminate the new.
Working with painting, collage, and printmaking, I jot down impressions that layer, tangle, and fall apart. The surface swings back and forth between accumulation and disintegration. Bodies embedded in paint are lured out using a multitude of mark making languages. Sometimes the mark becomes the subject itself, other times it fishes for contours of a hand or chin. I try to manifest the friction of these often uncomfortable moments through surfaces rich with expressive color and mark-making contradictions.
I want the paintings to be unsettled objects that have not yet made up their minds—do they insist on falling apart or holding together? My aim is to smoke out remembered sensations through the the act of painting.
Gina Malek is a painter based in NYC. In 2015 she graduated with her MFA from Columbia University last year. She has previously exhibited work in New York, Chicago, and Berlin. Her solo show titled “UNDERLINININGS” is currently on view in Berlin at MagicBeans Gallery until December 22, magicbeans.gallery. Gina’s website, where you can find images of her work, is ginamalek.com.