Andrée M. Mahoney: Spirit Voyager
Member Preview: Saturday, Feb 18, 5-6 pm
Public Opening: Saturday Feb 18, 6-8 pm
Art Walks: Mar 4, April 1
Curator: Monica Lynne Mahoney
The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art exhibition, Andrée M. Mahoney: Spirit Voyager, celebrates the artist’s seventy-year exploration of the richness of life through mixed-media painting and ceramic sculpture. A visual storyteller on a lifelong, transcendental quest to transform spirit into matter, Mahoney seeks to strike a balance between color and form, intuition and meaning.
Mahoney came to Claremont in 1950 to study art at Scripps College and honed her skills in the Millard Sheets Studio. She later earned her M.Ed and MFA from Claremont Graduate University in the 1960s. Thereafter Mahoney served as Professor of Art at Chaffey College for more than 30 years.
The exhibition, curated by the artist’s daughter Monica Lynne Mahoney, will open with a reception on Saturday, February 18 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and will remain on view through April 23, 2023. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.
In Spirit Voyager, Andrée M. Mahoney takes her audience on a journey through universal symbols and metaphors that navigate land, sea, and sky to connect with the cosmos through her sensuous view of the world. Her work is equally grounded in feminist ideology. By conveying the spectrum of the human condition—from pain and joy to violence and freedom—Mahoney shares a vision of balance and equality in a polarized world.
Having come of age in the post-war patriarchy of the 1950s and early 60s, Mahoney joined feminism’s second wave, not through protest art, but by forging her own path, neither confined nor defined by the patriarchy that surrounded her. Her work embraces such concepts as motherhood, sensuality, and intercultural communication as sources of strength that inform her spiritual inquiry. In paint and in clay, she gives new life and complexity to these timeless ideas.
In addition to being influenced by the Bauhaus and late Modernist philosophies that informed the work of many of her teachers at the Claremont Colleges, Mahoney was also inspired by the Transcendental Painting Group that viewed art as a vehicle for spiritual enlightenment and didn’t fit neatly into the linear narrative of European Modernism. A current exhibition, Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, 1938–1945, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art explores this underrecognized movement.
Similarly, Mahoney’s work moved beyond the dominant Modernist narrative and was therefore overlooked. Spirit Voyager brings Mahoney’s work into the forefront and represents the riches of her creative navigation across time and space. The exhibition weaves together her journey of inquiry, and the visionary impulse to manifest life’s sensuality in built form throughout the arc of her life.
The child of a military family, Andrée M. Mahoney (b. 1932) moved several times across the United States in her youth. Her Father was a Colonel during WWII and decorated with a Purple Heart among other military honors. He was commonly stationed in army artilleries located on coastal military bases. Sea voyages on military cargo ships became the foundation of some of her earliest memories and would later provide metaphor and material for artistic production. This nomadic lifestyle was disruptive but also fueled a love for exploring new cultures and places.
As a Scripps College student, Mahoney thrived in her art classes, especially in ceramics with Richard Petterson and painting with Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, and Henry Lee McFee. As the only female Professor of Art, Jean Ames was a particularly significant mentor. After graduating in 1954, Mahoney continued to study ceramics with Paul Soldner through the Claremont Graduate School (CGS) and became one of the first students to receive a Masters in Art Education in 1959 under the direction of Jean Ames. Later, she returned to CGS to study painting with Doug McClellan and earned her Masters in Fine Art degree in 1968. Many of her college mentors served in World War II and shared Mahoney’s experience steeped in military structures and customs.
Mahoney experienced the remarkable transition of the Scripps College Art Department from the more traditional Millard Sheets era of the 1950s to the 1960s under the influence of the iconoclast Paul Soldner. A pivotal moment came when she attended a ceramics workshop with Peter Voulkos, who, along with his protege Soldner, transformed ceramics into an expressionist medium. This experience of expressionism inspired Mahoney to pursue ceramics as a mode for her own form of abstract expressionism. Mahoney recalls, “Soldner taught ceramics with a natural flow of energy” and “through repetitive practice and skill-building my art became more spontaneous, intuitive, and direct.”
As a studio assistant with Millard Sheets Studio, Mahoney worked with Sheets and Susan Lautmann Hertel on the Garrison Theater mosaic mural at Scripps College from 1958-62. She also worked with Martha Underwood on numerous mosaics on Home Savings and Loan buildings, all part of the region’s post war public art program. She led mosaic tilework demonstrations in Seal Court adjacent to the original Scripps College art department.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mahoney came into her own as she employed feminist ideologies in her work, particularly ceramic sculpture where clay was sculpted into sensuous forms to explore both the power and constraints of women’s bodies and roles in society. In the 1980s, her creative path turned toward conflict resolution and the birth of her boat series, which fused early memories with nautical metaphors.
Andree Mahoney served more than three decades as Professor of Art at Chaffey College and was named Artist of the Year by the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in 2009. She has exhibited widely throughout Southern California with solo exhibitions at San Bernardino Valley College’s Gresham Gallery and the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. Her work has been featured in galleries across the west and is represented in private collections from California to New York.
Currently, Mahoney is a member of The Ravens, a Claremont poetry group with whom she shares her illustrated poetry and digital collages. Her extraordinary home, once a National Forest Service fire lookout tower, was transformed into a hand-crafted artists showroom by her late husband and sculptor Jerome Edward Mahoney. Together with her own colorful and expansive artwork, she lives among her husband’s dramatic metal sculptures and the drawings and sculpture of her adult twins Monica Lynne Mahoney and Michael Re Mahoney.
The exhibition is generously sponsored by