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Boo Mallinson

By Emily Arbis

Boo Mallinson is one of Dorset’s most prominent and popular artists, renowned for her striking seascapes

that are inspired by her Dorset surroundings. Her compelling work typically conveys a strong sense of her

encounter with nature and the elements, depicting the fluctuating interaction of land, sea and air. Recently,

her work has found a new energy and excitement for painting and this new collection is a visual diary of her

progress as an artist.

Mallinson’s landscape paintings have always played with abstraction while retaining a clear sense of the

seaside terrain from which she draws inspiration. This same balance between the abstraction and figuration

follows through into her new work, though a greater abstraction is evident. Bold blocks of colour now

occasionally enter the cool blue palate, and at times the horizon is abandoned to allow her greater freedom

in her composition. These paintings are an exercise in colour and balance, and despite their greater

abstraction than previous works, Mallinson still views these paintings as landscapes and an expression of

her interaction with her surroundings.

Interestingly, Mallinson has observed that her more successful paintings are often those done from memory

rather than from drawings on site. Her black and white works done from memory were the foregrounding for

her new collection; an exercise to form her new direction without the distractions of colour and detailed

observation of the landscape. This concern with the interaction between actuality and the imagination has

always permeated her work, and is brought to our attention more explicitly in the new show.

Another aspect of Mallinson’s work that has shown development is her interest in the discourse between

the considered and the accidental. The new paintings display a spontaneity and experimentation that has

invigorated them, particularly evident in ‘From Sea to Land III where paint is allowed to trickle and diffuse

where it may to create an intensely active surface. Translucent thin washes and thick layers of blue

pigment intermingle, drip and bleed to create an aqueous effect which absorbs the onlooker into this

oceanic world. Despite this reliance on accident as part of the painting process, the new works

simultaneously convey a new confidence, an experienced awareness of what the paint will do.

The new collection largely retains the sense of a joyous evocation of the landscape where deeply

expressive atmospheres and moods are created with paint; however, progressions from her previous works

are striking, and her innovations in painting techniques and her experimentation with further realms of

abstraction make this an extremely exciting new collection.

Many aspects of her trademark style have been renovated: heightened abstraction of the landscape, the

abandonment of the horizon, greater experimentation with accident and chance, and even the introduction

of fiery reds and warming oranges into her usual cool palate of indigos and powder blues in works like

Warm Again’. This particular painting is a prime example of how Spring has been a great influence on

Mallinson’s work she says that this season of renewal and recovered warmth and energy has been

inspirational for the bright hues that emblazon the new works.

‘Moving On’ keeps tones more muted than other paintings like Warm Again’, only indulging in occasional

streaks of colour. This painting creates a sense of intrigue, as its light grey gestural expanses seem to

mask a brighter painting waiting to burst below. The fittingly named ‘Moving On’ encapsulates the spirit of

Mallinson’s recent creations. This sense of potential embodies the new productions of Boo Mallinson, and

hints at exciting innovations and progressions for the future.

Boo Mallinson’s Solo Exhibition will take place at Artwave West, Morcombelake, Dorset DT6 6DY from

7th June to 6th July.

Warm Again

Moving On