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|Heidi Russell presents
|The Lavendar Menace Series
I have come to believe that declarations of love, particularly those involving same-sex relationships, are simultaneously personal, public, and
political statements. At a time of incremental victories for gay rights in the face of continued hate crimes, political posturing against gay
marriage and other civil rights, even the blacklisting of gays from high school proms, I wish to bring myself and my work into the discussion. By
doing so, I ask to be named and counted, engaging in the debate because the personal is political.
The abstract paintings in this body of work have been inspired by personal experience and recent news items regarding the struggle for equal
rights. Since Fall 2010, my work has focused particularly on gay bullying.
These most recent paintings are inspired by the suicides of several teenaged boys in Fall 2010, who were bullied for being gay. The
multi-layered paintings use a colorful but unsettling palette of yellow-greens, pinks, purples, reds, and blacks. Some figurative elements
emerge, particularly spindly or cartoonish legs which suggest vulnerability. Expressive bursts of drawing come from a personal sense of
urgency and upset over the suicides; many pencil marks are not drawn lines at all, but desperate and furious tracks carved again and again
through the paint. Dripping, dangling shapes conjure anguish and heartbreak suggestive of the bullied teens, but also of viewers who may
look on these stories from a place of adult wisdom and, perhaps, shared experience.
|La Piazza Del La Republica
Maura has exhibited her paintings at various venues in New York, Boston, Providence, and Italy. One of her sketchbooks toured the United States
and can be seen as part of the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library.
She received a grant from the Vermont Studio Center for a residency in 2010, was chosen as one of the Boston Young Contemporaries, and was a
recipient of an AHA! Grant from the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Her work is held in over forty private collections in the United States, Europe,
and the Middle East, and is displayed at various Boston-area corporations. She received her MFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts
Dartmouth. Maura has taught art at various universities and colleges in the Northeast, as well as in summer programs in Italy and Sicily.
Believing in art’s power to change the world, Maura’s current work supports LGBT youth by taking a stand against gay bullying. In the past, she has
organized an art sale to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina, and donated artwork to causes such as the Gloria Steinem Art Auction, led by Ms.
Steinem, in support of the Women’s Studies Program at UMass Dartmouth.