Jill Yakas Gallery
Pares Mallis
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Pares 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.

This 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:

The 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.

CHRYSA KAKATSAKI Art Historian

"The 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 may trigger.

Seaweed, 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.

Behind 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 results. "




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