Teri Malo was born in Whitinsville, MA and received her BA in studio art from Emmanuel College in Boston, MA and her MFA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Ms. Malo grew up around dairy farms and woodlands in Central Massachusetts. Her interest in nature reflects her childhood playing outside both in the woods and on the farms, and helping with the family’s part-time business raising chrysanthemums and lettuce. A sense of wonder and delight permeates all her responses to nature, as seen in her paintings.
Ms. Malo graduated from Emmanuel College and received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, where her passions centered on printmaking.
Ms. Malo’s most recent work focuses on elemental themes from nature – water in all its forms, air, granite, forests. And nearby gardens. Using photography to record her daily walks, Malo pieces together composite views of her favorite places, capturing the essence of each location. Sometimes the result is a “view” in its entirety, while at other times the paintings are more like a pieced quilt of close-up details recomposed into a more abstract memory painting. The paintings utilize techniques borrowed from her studies in printmaking, watercolor and oil painting.
Ms. Malo’s works are in a number of collections, including the DeCordova Museum, Newport Art Museum, The Blackstone Group, Ritz Carlton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Baystate Medical Center, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Parmenter Hospice, Bryant College, Otis Elevator, and numerous private collections.
Details built into patterns are at the core of each painting. Naturalistic detail forms the vocabulary (leaves, duckweed, stones, clouds, and sometimes frogs, fish, and birds) while juxtaposition determines the degree of abstraction or realism in each painting. The more closely I look, the more abstract the patterns become. Similarly, swirls of pollen and duckweed on a pond’s surface can feel abstract, even when the sun is casting clearly defined shadows across the surface, and the surrounding woods can be inferred in the leafy, dancing shapes in the shadows. I see realism and abstraction as points on the axis of proximity.
I work to master the accidents that are possible when techniques collide. My early study of printmaking, then watercolor, and finally oil painting opened me to new ways of seeing and recording the natural world. I let the medium inform the approach and final result. I know it is at the intersection of these three mediums that my best impulses reveal themselves.
The landscapes and seascapes are layered events, and so are my paintings. The first layer, based on monoprint techniques, uses a soft rubber roller and thinned oil paint to set a value pattern and textures evocative of my subject. At this stage, I am interested in strong contrasts and bold “accidents.” I push the wet paint around with scraps of plastic bags, spritz with solvents, blot, blur, re-roll, wipe and scrape in defining lines. I use anything at hand to create an interesting abstract pattern, one that is sympathetic to my subject.
When the underpainting is dry, I use oil glazes to modulate the color, then bring into focus the major shapes using soft watercolor brushes, soft rubber rollers, and primarily transparent or semi-transparent pigments. I look at the patterns in nature and seek to interweave that information with the abstract gestures found in the first layer of paint. It’s a question of balance – letting the underpainting integrate with facts in a respectful way. Successive weeks, or months, of painting, drying, glazing, repainting and more drying yield a view that I hope has never quite been seen before. A painting is successful, for me, when all the senses are imaginatively engaged – touch, smell, sound, and memory – and the world beyond the painting also feels present. I delight in attending to every square inch of the painting, making sure that there are delightful surprises for the viewer whether they are scrutinizing the surface from five inches away or from the end of a long hallway.