• Russo Lee Gallery, New Places, September 2 - October 2, 2021

    Russo Lee Gallery, New Places, September 2 - October 2, 2021

    After arriving in the Sonoran Desert just a couple of months before the shutdown I felt fortunate to have the time to explore the effects of this new place on my work as a painter. There the light, humidity, and cultural influences feels so disparate from what I am accustomed to. I find the natural color palette, beguiling flora, and the sense of distance very different and arresting.

    It is invigorating to try something new. My husband, Mark, and I are experimenting with splitting our time between the Catalina Foothills near Tucson, and the North Oregon coast. We enjoy the contrast between our home overlooking Nehalem Bay and the ocean, and this new place in Arizona’s Old Pueblo. It is in a lush desert region, ringed by mountain ranges, and bejeweled with saguaros. In both places, I find it gripping to look out at distances not blocked by man-made forms.

    No one is unaffected by the pandemic, but being in a new environment I weathered the isolation by exploring the desert with the thirst of a newcomer. This perspective made the time feel somehow ripe for looking out at the horizon, and focusing in on my own whereabouts. With these paintings I have sought to capture these initial impressions, and delve into the evolution they inspire.

  • Formation


    Exhibition at Russo Lee Gallery
    April 5-28, 2018
    805 NW 21st Avenue, Portland, OR 97209

    The Russo Lee Gallery is pleased to present Formation, by gallery artist Rae Mahaffey. Mahaffey paints patterns built slowly over time, embracing both the organic and geometric. Seeing her work as a reaction to the fast-paced digital world, the artist avoids a specific narrative, leading the viewer to an experience as opposed to a quick read. Mahaffey ventures into more nature-based forms in this exhibition, inspired by time spent at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Paintings such as Formation give not only a name for the show but a directive: hard-edged shapes hold layers of drips and patterns suggestive of rocks and geology. Other works, exploring a new direction in Mahaffey’s work for the gallery, feature images that are more explicitly landscape driven. Throughout this work, Mahaffey employs her usual harmonious and adventurous color palette.

  • Transference, Autzen Gallery, PSU, March 3 - April 8, 2016

    For over 20 years, master printer Mark Mahaffey, recognized for his technical proficiencies, has been collaborating with artists in his print workshop, Mahaffey Fine Art in Portland, Oregon.Mahaffey, realizing that sometimes the techniques and equipment associated with printmaking
    make the processes baffling to artists, choose to initiate an atypical project to be exhibited in conjunction with the symposium.

    Eight artists, loosely associated by their use of pattern, were invited into the print workshop and shown a brief demonstration on the direct and versatile process of watercolor monotype. Provided by the studio were various materials and prepared mylars for each artist to try out. Proofs of these tests were pulled, and different possibilities discussed on how one might adapt and modify the process.

    The artists left the studio with two additional mylars to mess around
    with in their own studios, using their own materials, and at their own pace. They were encouraged to experiment, to be in contact with the print studio if they had any questions, and to eventually schedule time in the studio when they wanted to see their work transferred to paper.

    The artists, who are self-identified under the moniker Northwest Patternists, all use pattern in their work, though their approaches differ significantly. None of them are specifically printmakers, though some of them have more background in printmaking than others. By proposing they use such a basic and versatile process, Mahaffey's aim was to initiate an exploration of content over process and see how these artists might expand upon the basic concept of image transference from matrix to paper. “Transference” is an exhibition that showcases their investigations.

  • Art in America Review

    Art in America Review

    Written by Sue Taylor and in the November Issue