A painting of a house, created by artist Maureen Gallace.

“Summer” by Maureen Gallace.
Photo credit: Hrag Vartanian at Flickr Creative Commons.

Maureen Gallace, of Connecticut and New York, has probably always been an artist, but she was thirty when she began exhibiting her works. She paints on small canvases, little portraits of beaches, hillsides, and houses from her native New England, but no people. In fact, her houses seem people-less, often missing doors and windows in a style that feels like impressionism or early American Modernism.

In a 2013 review of her work, Bruce Hainley, writing for Artforum wrote:

Gallace… makes some of the most intense paintings going. Luminous grays, glissandos of white, and auroral pinks and oranges dramatize her precise blues. In her “seascapes,” … waves crash upon the shore and the horizons disappear—which is not a minor event for a painter who always considers grounding. While the artist’s photographs (one was reproduced as the show’s announcement card) document specific locales and buildings, some already dismantled by environmental or economic havoc, the paintings transmigrate soulfulness more than they do any topography. Gallace dissolves ongoing nattering about abstraction and representation, achieving the rare, staunch beauty of the quietly hard-won.

“Quiet” and “Unshowy” are perhaps the most appropriate words for her canvases. Her style is simplistic, with shape and color the whole priority and none for technique. They are sober little meditations on a place, still-life at a scale we’re not quite used to. It’s almost as if they were houses with their own lives, which had never been inhabited and yet had histories and slow thoughts to think.

Through September 10th, six-dozen of her works will be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art PS1 in an exhibit called “Maureen Gallace: Clear Sky.” Each canvas the size of a sheet of paper, set on their own in clean white space, is a window on a quiet, calm moment, a place to explore with the eyes and emotions.