Joella Jean Mahoney
Joella Jean Mahoney has been a committed artist since early childhood. "At age three I experienced a powerful connection between myself and nature. I wanted to share this wonder at being alive with my parents and brothers. I could not yet explain wonder and awe in words, but I could through painting and drawing. So, I began serious art making and have never stopped."
Mahoney is Professor of Art Emerita, University of La Verne where she began developing the art Department n 1964. She holds a B.A. in Art from Northern Arizona University and an MFA in painting from Claremont Graduate University. Mahoney is known for her dramatic, large scale landscapes in oil. Even though she has a flower series, a figure series, and a horse series, the canyon landscape of the Colorado Plateau has become the major motif of her paintings.
These landscapes contain all the elements of her huge originality; the spontaneous brush strokes, the inventive shapes, lambent color, and monumental scale of work and vision. Mahoney's distinctive style that bridges realism and abstraction uses color and structure to share with the viewer the spiritual content of experiencing the miracle of nature and life.
In 1996 Mahoney was honored as Distinguished Alumnae by Northern Arizona University during its Centennial Year Celebration. In 1997, Scripps College Fine Arts Foundation honored Mahoney for her achievement in the arts. She has had 20 and 30 year retrospective exhibitions at Claremont Graduate University Art Department Gallery, University of La Verne, Harris Art Museum, Northern Arizona University Art Museum, and the West Valley Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. She has had 50 year Retrospective Exhibitions at the Kolb Museum, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, the Northern Arizona Museum, Flagstaff, Arizona and the West Valley Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Her canvases are known internationally through the Art-in-Embassies Program, U.S. State Department.
Mahoney does the preparation for her deeply felt landscapes by painting small, realistic works on location, during hiking and backpacking trips in the Southwest. Then in her studio, she invents the big work; not referencing the small works and never referencing photographs.
Mahoney is listed in Phil and Marian Kovinick's Encyclopedia of Women Artists, University of Texas Press. Mahoney was born in Chicago, Ill. She lives in Sedona, Arizona, where she paints, hikes and rides.
Did You Know?
Standing on the edge of a vast badlands landscape, a Spanish explorer is rumored to have named the area "El Desierto Pintado" (The Painted Desert) because the hills looked like they were painted with the colors of the sunset.