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Don't Give Up On People

A Solo Retrospective

University of Alabama - Huntsville
Wilson Hall Gallery
February 2020

Some of the actual objects that appear in the paintings were on view in the gallery, as well as preliminary drawings and source images, in order to evoke the painting-making process. "A piece of language...a object..." Mandy F. Wallace's paintings in this exhibition stemmed from decades of close observation of the world around her, as well as a fascination with the mind’s alternate versions of that world.  Take for example The Plastic Factory,  in which the artist herself shows up more than once in the painting, in front of the extruding machines, wearing the uniform she had worn when she once worked there. The atmosphere has a cool, detached quality, reminiscent of Di Chirico. The vantage point is from high above, an impossible angle that could only have come from the mind’s eye. 

Wallace's work is multi-valent. There is never just one voice or single storyline or view. The paintings pose narrative as both a playful and menacing riddle. The viewer is drawn in by the  lure of narrative, but the moment we step inside, we are destabilized and spectacularly bewildered by a simultaneous representation of past, present, and future. Our attention is heightened. Our uncertainty is increased by paintings comprised of multiple discreet canvases which have been joined to form a whole. As we look at them, we cannot help but be aware of the threat of chaos: at any moment those modular canvases could break away from their gravitational pull toward cohesion, and fly apart to form another vision altogether. 


Mandy Fitzhugh Wallace was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She studied with Robert Colescott at the San Francisco Art Institute and received her master’s degree in Visual Studies from UC Berkeley. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the U.S. and in Europe.  Recent exhibitions include a solo retrospective in San Francisco by the INSTITUTE of advanced UNCERTAINTY at Minnesota Street Gallery, and group invitational exhibitions at the University of North Alabama and at the Georgine Clark Alabama Artists Gallery.  The artist lives and works in Oakland, California.  

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