Julia Malakoff Brings “Good Juju” to Reston Art Gallery and Studios, October 2 – 31

Carol Nahorniak Art & Culture

A Message of Healing and Renewal in a Time of Adversity

Poppies on the Pond, mixed media collage by Julia Malakoff

“Good Juju,” Julia Malakoff’s solo show of mixed-media collages, is a joyous offering during difficult times. Visually impactful as well as pleasingly tactile, her creative collages consist of hand painted papers infused with vibrant color and images inspired by both the natural world and her own vivid imagination. “Colorful comfort and visual stories that inspire and bring a sense of renewal, joy – even magic – this is the goal of my current collection of work,” says Malakoff.

While her art is influenced by Henry Matisse, Malakoff’s most recent work has taken on a new direction which references the dark challenges posed by Covid-19 this past year. “These are, without a doubt, extremely difficult times,” the artist states. “I am a Covid long-hauler, and although profoundly grateful to have escaped the worst of this insidious disease, the virus has robbed me of two of my five senses – taste and smell. As an artist, I am accustomed to relying on all of my senses, not just sight, to help interpret my observations. Even though my physical senses have been partially muted, I push forward each day, working to portray the beauty and magic that still surrounds us, despite our current adversity – creating ‘good juju’, if you will. In so doing, I hope to help heal both myself, at least in spirit, as well as the many other people who are suffering from their own adversities.”

“I now rely more than ever on my creative instincts to sweeten my palette. Taking my frustration with me into the studio, I imagine what my food tastes like as I mix up a variety of colors to whet my visual appetite. I want to dive into a delicious paint palette and paint sweet flavors to distract me from my own debilitated, dysfunctional palate. In my attempt to make scents out of a senseless situation, vibrant color is now bursting out in my studio on a daily basis, creating rich sensations I can not only see, but can also almost taste and smell. And yet, dark silhouettes and shadows have also begun to figure prominently in my recent work. This darkness reflects the reality of our current situation and the struggle it entails.” 

“The flowers in these imaginary healing gardens of mine are planted using hand painted papers. Paper petals are applied layer upon layer and detailed with a variety of markers and crayons. Stems and leaves are cut into fanciful shapes inspired by Matisse cut-outs as well as my own photography of both organic and inorganic subjects.”

Malakoff believes that art should not only be a rejuvenating experience for the artist, but also for the viewer. “There is something about adopting a playful mode that allows your mind to relax and then recharge and invites the viewer to do the same.” She is also an instructor, offering her Make Your Mark classes in mixed media for all skill levels. View Malakoff’s work and learn more about her classes at  juliamalakoff.com, and follow @juliamalakoffart on Instagram and Facebook

“Good Juju” is on display at Reston Art Gallery and Studios (RAGS) from October 2 until October 31, open weekends from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. All are invited to meet Malakoff at a reception on Saturday, October 30 from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. For an appointment to view the show outside of regular hours, email juliatova@gmail.com or contact the gallery via RestonArtGallery.com

Visitors to “Good Juju” can also view work created by the seven other member artists of RAGS who represent a range of artistic expression and styles. Located at the “ART” sign on the lakeside of 11400 Washington Plaza West, Reston, VA 20190 at historic Lake Anne Plaza, the gallery is just steps away from the Saturday morning Farmers Market. For GPS directions and parking, search “Lake Anne Plaza.” Follow @RAGSReston on Facebook, @RestonArtGallery on Instagram, and get more information at RestonArtGallery.com.


Pictured at top: Julia Malakoff – When you have lemons

About Reston Art Gallery and Studios (RAGS)

A variety of works created to intrigue and inspire the viewer is on display and available for purchase at RAGS, a cooperative gallery of eight artists – Gail Axtell, Dorothy Donahey, Sandra Dovberg, Rosemarie Forsythe, Pat Macintyre, Julia Tova Malakoff, Marthe McGrath, and Wayne Schiffelbein. During the week, the artists are working on site, or at their home studios, preparing commissions, new works, and their next special exhibits. RAGS presents new shows each month with a focus on the latest works of individual artists, open every weekend. Gallery owner, director, and artist Pat Macintyre continues her tradition of providing art enrichment for children with free, themed Crafts for Kids every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at RAGS. The orange “ART” sign at historic, scenic Lake Anne Plaza leads to the glass-front entrance of Reston Art Gallery and Studios, a Reston landmark established in 1987, located on the lakeside of 11400 Washington Plaza West, Reston, VA 20190. GPS: “Lake Anne Plaza” for directions to the parking area. Follow @RAGSReston on Facebook, @RestonArtGallery on Instagram, and get more information at RestonArtGallery.com.