2680 South La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034


November 7 – December 19

For the past ten years Jeff Colson has been working on a series of sculptures, paintings and watercolors that focus on the ephemeral quality of paper, as a subject and a material. Each work depicts a peripheral accumulation of paper, once symbolic of the day-to-day frenzy of one’s life. As a single sheet it is barely there, but when accumulated, it becomes physical and symbolically loaded as information and the systematization of our daily existence. Colson recognizes that in an attempt to control chaos we are sometimes caught in a manic and desperate spiral to prevent the inevitable, the absurdity of this “Catch-22” is evidenced by the accumulation of almost everything that we desire, regardless of need. Ironically, now with the digital age, paper is on the brink of extinction. This existential view has been the underpinnings of most of his work, coupled with a desire to make objects from memory with all its distortion—a personal validation of acquisition. 

Using his own handcrafted techniques, the elements of the work are carved, cut, sawn, sanded, painted, welded, and molded to replicate an object that is recognized at once for its intent and as absurd as an art object. Stacks (2014-2015) is an amalgam of three happenstance load-bearing objects: desk, drop leaf table and a milk crate supporting an ever increasing and ominous mountain of paper stacked like performance bar graphs. These comically wobbly towers of paper, the residue of well-intentioned ambitions seem touching in their sincerity, and the act of attempting insurmountable odds, a universal experience.

Jeff Colson grew up near the oil fields just north of Bakersfield, California. His father was a social worker whose do-it-yourself aesthetic, making everything from toys to homemade life jackets, informed Colson’s own identity as a “crackpot tinkerer.” In his sculpture, Colson refers to both that quirky, by-the-seat-of-your-pants decision-making process and Modernism’s purist grid. The sculptures are fabricated from both personal and cultural memory, often without referencing specific objects or images. The resulting forms are familiar, but aren’t real.  Colson’s sculptures are physical documents of remembered reality. The sense of history is also literal as each piece can take months, even years to make.

Jeff Colson graduated from California State College, Bakersfield. His work is in the Collection of Count Giuseppe Panza di Buomo at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Sammlung Rosenkranz Foundation in Wuppertal, Germany; the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California; Colección Júmex, Mexico City and in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Jeff Colson was awarded a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a 2015 City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.) Fellowship.

The artist lives and works in Pasadena, California

JOEL OTTERSON: Needleworks


September 11 – October 31

Maloney Fine Art is pleased to present “Needleworks,” Joel Otterson’s third exhibition with the gallery, which explores two new bodies of work; two-dimensional beaded “paintings” and three-dimensional hand-blown glass “flesh cups” which serve as a homage to the diversity, dexterity and tradition of sewing, stitching and embroidery.

Joel Otterson is a sculptor who for 30+ years has worked his way through the house and remade everything inside it.  His hybrid mash-ups of our domestic environment question our relationship to the home and to each other. His work addresses the gender of objects, their place in culture and what it means to be American. 

Many celebrated antecedents, from Austria’s Wiener Werkstätte applied arts fabrics, Chinese embroidery, haute couture fashion to 18th and 19th century samplers, inspire Otterson. Materials used include wool, cotton and silk fabrics, combined in complex and sophisticated ways; along with cotton, silk, cashmere, and metallic threads. These contemporary samplers of dissonant yet harmonious combinations, incorporate beads, individually crafted ceramic pieces, found jewelry, semiprecious stones, coral, amethyst, bone, plastic, metal and wood, often creatively used as pavé embroidery on Persian rugs, mounted on wood.

With a nod to the painter James McNeil Whistler, Otterson entitles many of the works with musical parallels; Green Sonatina, a symphony in green, Rosa Toccata (from Italian toccare, "to touch"), is like a virtuoso piece of music, emphasizing the dexterity of the artist's fingers.  Otterson’s samplings are his version of a sampler gone atonal.

In addition to his beaded opus, Otterson acknowledges the “needlework” art of tattooing with Flesh Cups, a series of hand-blown glass cups, in the Venetian style. Incorporated into each cup is a narrative rendered in enamel, taken from Russian Criminal Tattoos.  These Flesh Cups mark a return to Otterson’s 1992 work History of Rock ‘n’ Roll Dinnerware, a gobbing of rock and roll logos and imagery onto European Continental 18th Century style dinnerware.

Otterson received his BFA from Parson's School of Design in 1982 and started exhibiting at Nature Morte Gallery in New York's East Village. In 1987 he had a solo exhibition in MoMA's project series.  Otterson was the artist-in-residence at Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington, in 1995 and 2015. His work was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the Hammer Museum's "Made in L.A." in 2012, and most recently, in "Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters," at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.

His work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Hammer Museum, The Cincinnati Art Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Israel Museum and many other public and private collections internationally. 

Otterson currently lives and works in Los Angeles.


Knobby Knees

May 23 - July 3

Monica, 2014-15, acrylic on linen, 60" x 38"      

Knobby Knees, Travis Collinson’s second solo exhibition of paintings and drawings at Maloney Fine Art, is a new body of work; a series of portraits using family, friends and colleagues painted with a signature style of simplified form and pure color, providing insight into the intimacy shared between the artist and his subject. Collinson started as an illustrator/cartoonist, creating comic book narratives within the frame. An emphasis on drawing is underscored in his work. Each of his subjects, seemingly devoid of expression and in a state of anomie, are depicted with large heads attached to bodies cut off at the knees—distortions of form and space, compressed as if swaddled within the frame. Through this compression, they become highly expressive, gesticulative figures of personal emotions and spiritual truths. 

Conceived as a series, these artworks are a continuation of Collinson's investigation of the work of other artists, primarily those whose portraits are recognized as their legacy, like Jean Auguste DominIque Ingres, Édouard Vuillard, and contemporary artists such as Alice Neel, Alex Katz and Marlene Dumas. His interest also lies in the personas that an artist takes on; in this series he focused primarily on the persona of Andy Warhol, known for his opaque, non-persona often likened to that of a zombie. The title of the series, Knobby Knees points not only to where his depictions of people end within the frame, but also draws reference to the Nabis group of artists: Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Paul Sérusier. Pronounced nah-BEE and derived from a Hebrew word meaning prophet, the Nabis artists each took on a different persona within the group. Collinson imagines himself as the Nabi of the Empathetic Portrait, looking to interior spaces and to artists' internal thoughts and experiences as refuges from the modern world.   

Travis Collinson has been featured in group exhibition throughout the country most recently in Look at me: Portraiture from Manet to Present at Leila Heller Gallery in New York and a solo exhibition at Dominican University titled Narcolepsy in Pink. He was also featured in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibition Hauntology and is included in their permanent collections. He currently resides in San Francisco, California.