Maggie Mailer’s “Floating World” is a surrealist-abstract series of paintings that are on display in the Teaching Gallery.
Jim Perry, a sophomore digital media student, said, “It’s like you’re tearing the paintings apart and going inside to see a surreal dream world,” about Mailer’s work.
Mailer takes influence from 18th-century Japanese Ukiyo-e art style and translates her own philosophy of life into all of her paintings. “Floating World” was also influenced by cartoons, the idea of “cliffhangers” and artists’ pallets, as well as other books and sources.
Mailer writes, “like dreams, or perhaps the nature of things – I’m interested in the imagery that lives within broken spatial orientations. These paintings hope to disrupt the viewer’s psychological code… and within the disruption, signal the ability to float.”
The first floor of the gallery contains some of Mailer’s larger works done mostly on canvas using bright colors and many textures.
The second floor displays smaller, more diverse paintings. Some of these works are done on sandpaper, while others were painted on traditional canvas. There is also a display with viewfinders that Mailer encourages students and visitors to use to change their perspective on her paintings by focusing on a specific section.
During the reception after Mailer’s talk on Thursday, she encouraged attendees to tape bright-colored paper to three of her paintings on the second floor so that they too could be involved in the work.
“We aren’t in the habit of thinking of the painting as something we have made ourselves, when in fact, you are making the painting yourself when viewing someone else’s work,” said Mailer.
In addition to the paintings where Mailer encouraged viewers to add pieces of paper, her suggestion box is an example of another interactive art piece. Comments can be left in the style of “car crash” which is done by using a pen that is surrounded by break away glass or “clean-up efforts” which is a pen surrounded by a hard soap.
Mailer studied architecture and fine arts at Columbia University. She currently lives and works in New Lebanon.
“Floating World” will be on display in the gallery until Oct. 22.