“Rethinking the Room: Marilyn Mahoney,” Museo

“Shirt Tail”

A selection of layered, mixed-media collages by longtime Kansas City artist Marilyn Mahoney graces Museo’s walls in the third one-person show in the exhibition series, “Rethinking the Room,” initiated earlier this year by Museo co-owner, Steve Maturo.

Mahoney’s 11 works are perfect in Museo’s sophisticated, welcoming showroom displaying modern and contemporary furniture and lighting by international designers. Embodying corresponding themes of structure, architecture, industry, machinery and fashion, Mahoney’s compositions shine amid thoughtfully curated, harmonious vignettes of glowing lamps, chairs, sofas and tables.

“Whirling Dervish” (2002), a monochromatic charcoal and Conte Crayon drawing, is the only work on paper. Being the earliest of Mahoney’s featured works, the dramatic compositional menagerie of spiraling hoops, stairs and cascading roller-coaster rails provides a structural foundation for her mixed- media collages on Mylar, including five new pieces stemming from an early collage from 2009 called “Licorice Twist.”

Mahoney identifies ”Licorice Twist” as a “breakthrough, pivotal piece,” that finalized her method of cutting Mylar into shapes to build compositions inspired by the memory of her dynamic, fashionable mother, who was also an identical twin. Dualities and multiplicity are elemental themes for Mahoney within this series. “My newer work is informed by recollections of my Mother and her style — her good eye for fashion that speaks to her legacy of elegance and vision,” Mahoney writes in her artist statement for the show.

“Licorice Twist”

Other influences, including structure, architecture, industry and machines flow within intricate forms constructed with monochromatic tones of black and grey ink, acrylic and collage, centered on sheets of Mylar. Mahoney inserts accents of color in several new works which directly reference figure and fashion through stylistic elements and titles such as “Shirt Tail,” “Figure in Grey,” “Mink,” “Flutter” and “Grey Twist.”

Within these suggestive creations, it is easy to conjure abstracted fashion sketches, dress patterns, ruffles, tail feathers and fur along with industrial architecture and machinery. “Figure in Grey” and “Flutter,” for example, simultaneously suggest flaring skirts and spinning metal drills.

Linear architectural patterns are balanced with sweeping, gestural lines, splashes of umber, maize and pink and layered shapes that suggest textured linen, lace and pleated fans of flowing fabric on fitted gowns for dancing figures.

Whereas “Licorice Twist” (2009) initiated the series of collages at Museo, its twin, “Grey Twist” (2019), marks the next phase of experimentation for Mahoney, beginning with a pop-up window installation in March at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph.  She credits “Rethinking the Room” as inspiration to reimagine the museum’s windows, for which she will create six new Mylar collage panels to achieve a multi-media, site-specific and transformational experience.

“Rethinking the Room: Marilyn Mahoney” continues through December at Museo, 3021 Main St., through December. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. For more information, 816.531-3537 or museousa.com.

About The Author: Heather Lustfeldt

Heather Lustfeldt

Heather Lustfeldt is a writer, educator and arts professional with a passion for public program development and community engagement for audiences of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Heather lives in Kansas City with her two sons.

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