Elizabeth Malaska is featured in the exhibition Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts 2017–2019 currently on view at Oregon Contemporary.
The Ford Family Foundation celebrates the contributions and potential of outstanding Oregon artists working in fine art and craft with its Hallie Ford Fellowships in the Visual Arts, awarded annually by an independent jury of arts professionals. This exhibition includes artworks by the fifteen artists honored in 2017, 2018 and 2019: Corey Arnold, Avantika Bawa, Pat Boas, Bruce Burris, Julie Green, James Lavadour, Niraja Cheryl Lorenz, Elizabeth Malaska, Demian DinéYazhí, Harrell Fletcher, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Flint Jamison, Jess Perlitz, Sharita Towne, and Marie Watt.
This exhibition presents no singular thematic organizing principle. Rather, it is composed of many ideas and approaches: community, presence and presentness, bearing witness, devotion, the natural and urban environment, systemic injustice, daily lived experience, the body, civil rights and the rights of citizens, power, survival, storytelling and who is permitted to tell stories, philosophical divides, colonialism, the metaphorical dimensions and allowances of abstraction, beauty, pedagogy, and legacies. Most, if not all, of these words describe the struggles of the past two years. These words suggest, as well, how we, as viewers and as citizens, might move the conversations prompted by these artworks out of the museum and into our daily lives.
Unprecedented is a word we use when we don’t yet know how to contextualize extraordinary events. It’s a word we use when the present is tumultuous, the future unknowable. During these times, it is often our writers, musicians, and visual artists who show us ways to interpret, to translate, and to make meaning. And because art has the capacity to hold time—hold the past, present, and future, often simultaneously—we often turn to the arts for sustenance. Though we should resist asking artists to define the moment as we live it, we do acknowledge that they will continue to make artworks that ask us to look, to pause, and to consider the meanings and roles of art.
— Jenelle Porter, January 2022