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Founders' Gallery • Current


Hilary Maslon Swag

Swag © Hilary Maslon

Sea Level

Hilary Maslon

June 14-July 6, 2019
Reception: June 14 • 5–8pm

It is the year 2019, and life at sea level is precarious. Though I am presently living 30 feet above sea level, when it rains torrentially, my yard becomes a lake and the creek that runs alongside my studio building becomes torrential, rising dangerously. My new paintings, and drawings were done during the rainy winter and spring seasons of 2019. And while the water rose, I tried to be attentive to the sea within. 

I am making studio art in a time that appears to be environmentally, politically and socially precarious.  How do I justify this? What purpose do I have, sitting in solitude in the studio, to be a part of this world?  What do I have to give, as an artist?

 I find my purpose in the very struggle of facing the blankness of the canvas. It mirrors the emptiness in myself.  The voices and the images inside of me attempt to captivate my attention. They are like sirens beckoning a ship at sea. But if I am still enough, they reveal themselves, vanish and then I am forces.  I become luminous and I shift.  I exercise this struggle onto canvas. 

 My imagery alludes, but it does not define. If something becomes too figurative for me, I am compelled to destroy it, for in the process of discovery definitions create dead ends.  I liken this process of resistance to the taboo against figuration in the Muslim religion, or the Judaic law against saying the word g-d. I can’t put a beard on the face of god, without squelching the search. I am never who I think I am. I am greater, smaller and more mysterious. 

It is the wish to touch the mystery of life that has always been the motivation for my paintings and drawings, and this is what I attempt to reflect in the integration of my colors and forms.  

I touch mystery, and then wonder if I will ever touch it again. This is my precarious existence at sea level.  


Synopsis: Sea Level.

I am painting at sea level. I am painting at a time of precarious existence. 

What purpose do I have, sitting in solitude in the studio, to be a part of this world?  What do I have to give, as an artist?

I find my purpose in the very struggle of facing the blankness of the canvas. It mirrors the emptiness in myself.  The voices and the images inside of me attempt to captivate my attention. They are like sirens beckoning a ship at sea. But if I am still enough, they reveal themselves, and then vanish. Then I am forces, shifting, luminous.  I exercise this struggle onto canvas. 

My imagery alludes, but it does not define. If something becomes too figurative for me, I am compelled to destroy it, for in the process of discovery definitions create dead ends. I don’t know who I am. I am never who I think I am. I am greater, smaller and more mysterious. 

It is the wish to touch the mystery of life that has always been the motivation for my paintings and drawings and this is what I attempt to reflect in the integration of my colors and forms.