Mallis brought some new energy to the Jill Yakas Gallery when she exhibited
her series of Marriage Boxes in a group show in 1999. Her boxes, with titles
such as Meat Market, Virgin Bride, The Ceremony, The Bible Says sometimes amused, sometimes annoyed, but generally provoked discussion among
visitors to the show.
By 2003 she had moved on to water. 'H20 'was the artist's first one person
show in Athens with Jill Yakas. The exhibition of paintings and ceramic sculpture
presented imagery inspired by water microbiology, the sea and swimming pools.
body of work fictionalizes water's mysterious qualities and calls attention
to the importance of water as a life support. Of her 'water packages', ceramic
constructions inspired by Minoan art, the artist says:
water packages represent the future of water.. With man's continuous disregard
of one of our greatest resources clean water will become a rarity. These
packages are my version of unspoiled water.
Pares Mallis studied at the Boston University School of Fine Arts, before
graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting (Beaver College, Glenside,
PA.) and a Master of Arts Administration (New York University). Before
making her home in Greece, Pares worked at the Whitney Museum of American
Art in New York and The New York Botanical Garden as a Public Relations
Associate. The artist now lives in Athens with her two daughters.
KAKATSAKI Art Historian
bottom of the sea has always fascinated mankind - first and foremost the
artist. This fascination may be due to the sense of an alien environment,
or to the refracted light that transforms volumes, alters shapes and gives
a different appearance to the creatures that live in the sea. Sometimes
these creatures may borrow the movements of the human body and seem familiar
and humanized, swaying to the rhythms of the water; at other times they
may resemble the threatening, archetypal monsters that haunt our nightmares.
It all depends on the eye that is looking at them and the fantasies they
plankton, micro-organisms, amoebas, phosphorescent plants and translucent
jellyfish that flash like fireflies in the dusk - this is the material that
feeds Pares Mallis’ imagination. All the diverse universe that stirs gently
on the sea-bed is given shape and form, colour and hue, in the light blues,
the greens, the dark blues and mauves that the artist uses as she skillfully
gives it substance on the canvas. Only in the two large paintings of swimming
pools is man present, enjoying the blessing of water in his material prosperity
with all the arrogance of his species; he neither knows nor wants to know
that the ceramic sculptures depicting packs of water are not just yet one
more luxuriously packaged product but the very womb of his existence, the
umbilical cord which he may not sever.
all this, the artist expresses a philosophy and a purpose: to recreate and
reanimate the world in its protoplasmic and original form. To depict the
very meaning of life in the cells of which it is composed, and at the same
time to remind us discreetly of the life-giving power of water. Nevertheless,
the artist avoids any shrill ecological proclamation of the threat posed
to the entire planet by the shortage of water and our wasteful use of it.
Instead, she paints. In whispers, echoes and reverberations we may catch
the voices of Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe and the other modernists.
Pares Mallis is a descendant of the abstract expressionists yet does not
experiment in the name of some avant-garde style from which all the juice
has been squeezed. On the contrary, she attempts to reconcile it with a
fertile re-reading of it. Thus her work acquires the sense of an ominous
prophesy that undermines the future. With brush in hand, the painter focuses
her gaze deep into a world that claims its right to come to the surface
and command our attention. She achieves this goal with excellent aesthetic