July 2018 Feature Artist - Virginia Mallon

 V I R G I N I A   M A L L O N
VirginiaMallon@gmail.com      www.VirginiaMallon.com 
20 Goodwin Place, Crab Meadow, NY 11768

 The Letter, oil on burlap

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely an accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter, who on the colored canvas, reveals himself.”  
 Oscar Wilde
It is with great pleasure that the Fat Canary Journal celebrates the paintings of artist Virginia Mallon, a painter and photographer, whose recent work harkens back to the feminine art movement and the sentiments of Italian Arte Povera of the 1960s. Mallon mentored under WPA Artist and founder of the Indian Space movement Robert Barrell.  She received a Bachelor of Arts from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1985 where she studied under Elias Friedensohn and Marvin Bileck.

Her current work, intentionally rough, created using oil paint on burlap, has an earthy quality.  With frayed edges and bits of organic and manmade material Mallon gives a nod to her female predecessors, at the same time embracing the protests against the contemporary art establishment made by the Arte Povera artists.  

Lot’s Wife, oil on burlap

Her project Wilderness of Salt explores the female perspective on loss and regret in what she refers to as a nuovo arte povera style.  By using simple, crude, commonplace materials like burlap and slate from a condemned turn of the century psychiatric hospital, Mallon hopes to relay a complex message about the female experience and times.

Terry Barton, Failed Saints, oil on burlap
Wilderness of Salt features images of legendary/biblical women, such as Lot’s Wife, who is balanced against a more contemporary Joan of Arc.  Eve, in the Garden of Good and Evil parallels the tragic American atrocity Nunna Daul Isunyi/Trail of Tears. 

Eve, oil on burlap

Failed Saints and The Letter both reference the epic tragedy started by a female park ranger Terry Barton in 2010.  A horrific story, on a biblical scale, of an abused women who, when trying to mentally purge the trauma experienced at the hands of her estranged spouse by burning letters from him, unintentionally starts the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires (138,114 acres) in the state of Colorado.

Mary’s Story 1 & 2 is about Typhoid Mary Mallon.

Each a universal example of women, perhaps even all of humanity, in moments of bad decisions, unfortunate circumstances, and very unhappy consequences.


                                                            Price of Faith, oil on burlap and canvas

I've always been drawn to the obscure, odd, or unusual in everyday life.  The little secrets that are there for the discovery if you take the time to look, to really look, at what is happening around you.  My work is not created in a vacuum; it is a direct product of surviving contemporary America. It is about the poor, the creative, and the survivor. It is about losing and winning against all odds. But mostly it is about hope for better days ahead.

As an artist, my role is really that of a spy, whose mission is to watch, take note, and document the stories of the creatures that inhabit the world around me. I am drawn to the invisible because I have been invisible. I am drawn to the every man, because I am every man. 

As an artist, I have chosen to sit at the feet of society in the good, the bad, and the ugly of everyday life. But unlike the dog who sits at the feet of his "master" I am taking notes. This work is a reminder that I too am part of history. The life around us is  part of an epic, and sadly never ending tale of good versus evil, and important lessons on what it means to be human.  And, as the adage goes, if we don't learn from our history, we are destined to repeat it.

Nunna Daul Isunyi, Trail of Tears, oil on burlap with found items



I began painting on burlap after a month long residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle, in Assisi, Italy.   Although I was familiar with the Arte Povera movement, it was only during this residency that ideas began to formulate on how these Italian sentiments could be applied to my own work, as a female artist in the United States, and my own  place (or lack thereof)  in the contemporary art world. 

I had just finished a series in photography on domestic abuse that was wrapped up in the legend of Saturn and it was a natural segue to take a broader look at the plight of women.  In selecting the women portrayed in Wilderness of Salt I am hoping to reflect on the universal plight of women in both contemporary and historic society.  

 Joan, Responsio Mortifera, oil on burlap

The material appealed to me, this coarse burlap sacking and slate, on two levels – first that it was very inexpensive to use and because of its feminine symbolism.

The project, as dour as it is, focusing on mistakes, regrets and oppression, also led to thoughts on methods of dealing with life during times of strife.

Fairy tales, lullabies, and nursery rhymes have been part of the human oral tradition since the beginning of time. These stories meant to relay warnings, are able to breach time, country, and culture. They are found in all wakes of life - country to county, city to village, rich to poor. They directly relate to our common humanity. They allow our ancestors to whisper love and caution into our ears just as easily as strangers on the other side of the planet. Our stories are theirs, and theirs ours.

This work a perfect balance to the warnings of Wilderness of Salt, Lullaby is a reminder that we are all indeed connected on a feminine level at least - to yesterday, to today, to the future, and most importantly - to each other.
  Hey Diddle Diddle, oil on burlap

The Night the Moon Ate the Stars, oil on burlap (mounted on board)


Solo Exhibitions
Wake of the Dutchman, Alfred van Loen Gallery, Huntington, NY– February 2016
amulets spirits and everyday humans, National Association of Women Artists, NYC – October 2012
Life in Crab Meadow, Spoke, Huntington NY – November 2010
Crustaceans and Older Influences, HLW Gallery, NYC – June 1996

Juried and Pop-up Exhibitions
Huntington Arts Council, Huntington, NY  - February 2018
Baruch College, New York City, Small Works Exhibit – February 2018
ARTOUR-O IIMUST, Madeira, Portugal - November 2017
Wake of the Dutchman Solo, Northport Art Coalition, Northport, NY - October 2017
Wake of the Dutchman Pop Up Exhibit, Scherer & Sons, Crab Meadow, NY – August 2017
Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Juried Exhibit, Providence, RI – February 2017
Nave Gallery, Out of the Woods, Somerville, MA – November 2016
1st WASB (Worldwide Apartment and Studio Biennial), Northport, NY - October 2016
Firefly Gallery, Northport, NY – December 2015
International Contemporary Art Exhibit at Citta Di Assisi, Italy – November 2015
Community of Artists, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA – June 2014
Point Park University, Visions and Revealations, Pittsburgh, PA – March 2014
International Contemporary Art Exhibit at Citta Di Assisi, Italy – November 2013
New England Biennial, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA – September 2013
Long Island Museum; Let’s Go to the Beach – August 2013
National Association of Women Artists, Clothing Optional – July 2013
Spoke Gallery, Artists Choice, Huntington, NY – February 2013
Long Island Museum, Natural Wonder – June 2012
Northport Art Coalition, Summer Artwalk – May 2012, September 2015
Las Femmes Artistes Vernissage at the Armory Center, FL – December 2011
Riverside Public Library, NAWA's Ev(e)olution, NYC – March 2011

Fish Dream of the Sky, Oil on burlap

Group Exhibits
Landfill Art Project, Wilkes-Barre, PA – April 2013
NAWA Annual Exhibit, Sylvia Wald-Po Kim Gallery, NAWA, NYC – 2010-2017
Annual Exhibit, Mill Pond House, Smithtown, NY – December 2012
Familiar Weight of Water, Spoke, Huntington NY – November 2011
Huntington Audubon Society/Cow Harbor Festival, Northport, NY – September 2010
Summer Festival, Vanderbilt Museum, Centerport, NY – July 2010

Mystic Blue Review January 2018
The Woven Tale Press, June 2017
The Island Review, 2017
Gambling the Aisle Literary Magazine, 2017
Temenos Journal, Central Michigan University, 2016 and 2017
Calyx Journal, 2016, 2017
The Tulane Review, Tulane University, 2015
The Journal, Ohio State University, 2015
Noctua Review Art and Literary Magazine, 2014 and 2016 select work
Noctua Review - Cover Art 2015 and 2017 Neo/Americana
Glassworks Literary Magazine, Spring 2014
Tendril Literary Magazine, Winter 2013
The Colored Lens, Summer 2012

Forest Park School of Art, Woodhaven, NY – with Indian Space artist Robert Barrell
Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing New York BA Fine Art 1985

Art Editor, Gambing the Aisle Literary and Art Journal Winter 2017, Summer 2018
Art Editor, The Fat Canary Journal 2018
Artist Residency – Arte Studio Ginestrelle, Assisi, Italy, November 2013
Member of the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) since 2010
Archeological Dig in Poitier, France, Summer 1984 and Forcalqueiret, France Summer 1981

Life in Crab Meadow      The City in Pictures     The Human Mien     Journeys

 Mary’s Story 1 & 2, oil on crazy house slate

For a printed version please click here.



  • "Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing - and keeping the unknown always beyond you." Georgia O'Keeffe