The Beauty of the Ephemeral World


The mission of the Olympia Gallery is to: “Olympia is dedicated to dismantling the Sith male-centric art canon.” This means creating space for female artists at the beginning of their career, which is a good reason to visit. Another reason is to support DIY spaces in the real estate spectrum opposite the warehouse-sized gallery displaying expensive merchandise. Good galleries rarely change or challenge the status quo, unless they claim they aren’t. They are too busy maintaining a stable flow of money in the world economy.

Lucy Marikan: Not only sensed but seen This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York at Olympia and should not be missed. Her materials include watercolors, colored pencils, and strings of natural dyes, which apply to boards, plywood, paper, and muslin. Her work by Marikan includes several sets of shoes found in different places where she lived and worked, including China, Macedonia, New Zealand, Australia and Germany.

Lucy Mullican, “Untitled” (2022), Watercolor, 16×20 inch
Installation drawing Lucy Marikan: Not only sensed but seen At the Olympia Gallery

Connecting shoes placed on a table like light gray, green, blue wash, watercolors, drawings, embroidery, and sculptures on a pedestal is a sense of insecurity and fragility. Shoes that are no longer in use evoke both absent life and durability that exist at different times than we do. The unusually shaped black boots that Marican allegedly found in China reminded me of the last line of Thomas Transtron’s poem “Afterlife of Someone.” Translated from Swedish by Robert Bly).

What survives and what is lost seems to be in Marikan’s concern. She doesn’t make a gesture towards immutability because she knows that time she will eventually embrace us with our creations. By drawing a translucent watercolor on a moderately sized wooden panel with visible grain, she draws us across the image and guides us to scrutinize the relationship between the watercolor marks and the grain.

Installation drawing Lucy Marikan: Not only sensed but seen At the Olympia Gallery

Marikan does not seem to have a fixed approach to the use of watercolors. The shape can be outlined with a grain of wood or completely independent of the grain of wood. Or, using a translucent color, she incorporates it as another element of the composition. In addition, the color density changes from monochromatic to transparent and from saturated to pale. In all works, the artist appears to interact with the grain of wood rather than seeing the support as a blank surface.

Malikan deals with simple and flexible vocabulary of tubular shapes, cloudy stains, ovals, and irregular shapes, moving between abstractions and expressions. I didn’t feel at any point that her paintings became predictable. In one of the exhibition’s larger works using a blue and green palette, Malikan painted an irregularly shaped cross-like shape that stretched beyond the four edges of the wooden panel. Inside a gentle cross, or blue water, the artist placed the green islands. Its shape reflects the visible lines of the wood grain pattern. Some islands have a blue shape that transforms it into a flat donut-like shape. The relationship between watercolor painting and wood grain is one of the acknowledgments. Thus, their interaction is part of the meaning that everything is temporary in a sense in the face of time, as well as the feeling that everything can decline.

Malikan’s work has been extended and revised from the abstraction of the landscape and the work of artists such as Arthur Dove and John Constable, but her interaction with wood support and her commitment to watercolors make her all. I feel like I’m setting it in her own category. The creators of landscape abstractions generally believed that their paintings were not time-sensitive, but Marikan creates exposed and sensitive artwork.

Lucy Mullican, “Map Of The Island” (2021), Watercolor, 8×10 inch
Lucy Mullican, “Light On Water” (2021), Watercolor, 12×12 inch

Malikan exists apart from these abstract, often mysterious works, creating aerial photographs of landscapes inhabited by trees, roads and fields. It was inspired by naive art. In “Untitled” (2022), the abstract shape in the center, an irregular red ellipse bordered by a thin band, is difficult to decipher. What are the signs?

In works that explore the phenomenon of light shining through water, evoke aurora borealis, reshape clouds, and convey layers of the Earth’s formations, Marican applies watercolors in other ways or colored pencils. Draw with. She sewed a piece of naturally dyed string onto a large vertical sheet of cream-colored muslin. Its light brown and tan shades tend to remind the viewer of earthworms.

Marikan, under the age of 30, is a young artist, but her vision and sensibility suggest the maturity of her experience. If anything, she feels that she is defining the foundation of her career. The trajectory can surprise and captivate the viewers who follow her work. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Lucy Mullican, “Floating” (2021), watercolor, 10×8 inches

Lucy Marikan: Not only sensed but seen Continue until May 21st at Olympia (Manhattan, Lower East Side, Orchard Street 41). The exhibition was sponsored by the gallery.


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