The Russo Lee Gallery is pleased to present Formation, by gallery artist Rae Mahaffey. Mahaffey paints patterns built slowly over time, embracing both the organic and geometric. Seeing her work as a reaction to the fast-paced digital world, the artist avoids a specific narrative, leading the viewer to an experience as opposed to a quick read. Mahaffey ventures into more nature-based forms in this exhibition, inspired by time spent at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Paintings such as Formation give not only a name for the show but a directive: hard-edged shapes hold layers of drips and patterns suggestive of rocks and geology. Other works, exploring a new direction in Mahaffey’s work for the gallery, feature images that are more explicitly landscape driven. Throughout this work, Mahaffey employs her usual harmonious and adventurous color palette.
Rae Mahaffey grew up in Denver, Colorado, and studied at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the University of Washington. She moved from Seattle to Los Angeles in l988 where she worked as a curator for Gemini G.E.L. and as a consultant for David Hockney's studio. She settled in Portland in 1992 to start Mahaffey Fine Art print studio with her husband Mark Mahaffey, a Master Printer. She has completed multiple public and private commissions, including works for the Washington State Arts Commission for Gray Middle School in Tacoma, and Columbia Basin College in Pasco; glass installations for Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR, and for the Pacific First Center, Harsch Investment Properties in Portland, OR, as well as a major installation for the El Paso Airport in Texas. Mahaffey’s exhibitions include shows at the Portland Art Museum, OR, Marylhurst Art Gym, OR, The Fairbanks Gallery at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, Maryhill Museum, WA, and the Schomburg Gallery in Santa Monica. Most recently, Mahaffey was part of the curated exhibition Making Our Mark at the Bellevue Art Museum in Bellevue, WA.