Martha Mysko - My Monet, mixed-media, 63.25” x and 51.5”, 2024

The Weather Station is pleased to present Modern Moments, an exhibtiion of new work by Martha Mysko, on view from May 17th until June 22nd. Modern Moments brings together a body of Mysko’s works, whose distinctive painterly process incorporates varieties of mark-making alongside found imagery and objects, and (in these new pieces) reproductions of modernist paintings.  

Collecting, shopping and thrifting are a few of the actions Mysko employs when building a palette for her layered assemblage works. While the pieces in Modern Moments all begin with these processes, they also include reproductions (and reproductions of reproductions) of paintings by Monet, Mondrian, El Lissitzky, and Magritte. These historical paintings are commercially printed on book pages, bedsheets, dresses, blankets, and umbrellas: mass-produced objects of relatively little value, widely available and significantly distanced from the material conditions of their source imagery. Some of the items used, while not actual reproductions, owe their aesthetics to the paintings. Paintings like Monet’s Waterlillies become pixelated or softened when printed on a nylon umbrella, yet remain instantly recognizable to a consumer. By incorporating these materials into her own paintings, Mysko’s thrift-store approach to source material extends to the history of painting itself, making use of a secondhand “cultural commons” of modernism-- however, the artist is less interested  in the historical circumstances  of these paintings than she is in their ongoing reproduction.

Martha Mysko - Composition with Bodycon Dress, mixed-media, 60” x 48”, 2024

Martha Mysko - Magritte Musing, mixed-media, 60” x 86.5”, 2024

“Often there’s a loss of information,” says Mysko, “where the cheap printing of a Magritte-like sky on a snuggy blanket becomes its own kind of abstraction.” These degraded images become entry points for Mysko’s further reworkings as she layers more and more information over and around them, creating surfaces that are visually lush, formally elegant, and optically dense. “The work may feel nostalgic,” the artist adds, “but the nostalgia may be felt for the reproductions as opposed to  their sources.” During a recent open studio event, Mysko witnessed visitors make immediate connections with these consumer motifs: “People would say to me, ‘I had those Monet bedsheets as a kid!’ There’s a comfort in these things, and in this endless reproduction of imagery.” In Modern Moments, Mysko explores the humor in this reproduction as well: for her exhibition at The Weather Station, the artist has produced a limited edition of umbrellas (printed with details of her own work in the show) for sale.

Umbrellas printed with Mysko’s paintings in her studio

Umbrella installed in Modern Moments

Mysko’s practice has enlarged concepts of painting for well over a decade, consistently working expansively with material, imagery, and sites of exhibtiion. Earlier projects explored  domestic chaos through the use of discarded electronics, furniture, and building materials to create environments evocative of a kind of spatial action painting. More recently her work has examined notions of reuse, incorporating print-on-demand techniques alongside thirft store imagery and objects. Her 2023 exhibition In Circulation at Belle Isle Viewing Room made use of the “end cap” as a site of display, recreating these shelf systems within her paintings. For her project at The Weather Station, Mysko will work with walls and molding of the gallery itself to further situate her work within the space.

Martha Mysko is Artist-in-Residence and Co-Head of the Painting Departments at Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has exhibited her work in numerous solo, group, two-person and collaborative exhibitions since 2006 at venues including Marc Straus Gallery, Wasserman Projects, Library Street Colelctive, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Sadie Halie Projects, Essex Flowers, FJORD Gallery, Elephant Art Space, Good Weather Gallery, Holiday Forever Gallery, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art and Bell Isle Viewing Room. Martha received her MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2011.

Installation shot of Modern Moments

Installation shot of Modern Moments

Martha Mysko - My Monet 2, mixed-media, 62.5” x 50”, 2024

Installation shot of My Monet with umbrella

Umbrellas installed in Modern Moments

Umbrella installed in Modern Moments