Printmaking is an artform that never ceases to fascinate me. Maybe it's because my brain is incapable of thinking like a printmaker; layers and negatives, etchings and reliefs, blocks of color. I have a hard time understanding how one can visualize multiple colors and shapes to overlay and press into one continuous idea...and maybe this is a big part of why Maya Malachowski Bajak's show at The Flying Object in Hadley Massachusettes was so appealing...or maybe it had something to do with how phenomenal the work itself is?
The Flying Object is a volunteer nonprofit printing press, gallery, bookstore, classroom, performance venue- everything one could want in terms of an alternative/independent artistic nexus. They even have a hands on workshop to teach one how to use a letterpress, this is some sort of heaven to me?! The work in Maya's show, titled Liminal Spaces, displays a range of contrast that I never knew existed, more shades of varying blacks and greys than one can possibly imagine, inviting in the depths of their somehow cheery, hopeful darkness. Even though the prints feel completely flat- the shapes feeling as very defined shapes- there is somehow a sculptural feel to them as well, like they were cubic forms rolled into dense, flat blocks- does that make any sense? Kind of like how I feel about seeing Blinky Palermo pieces in person- his color fields so placid, so thick, yet hedging in on the present human hand to the point that you get this sense of something deep skimming just below the surface, a framed still pond with lives hidden underneath...or something.