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Painted Objects: Luminous Portals

For the month of November, Make.Shift Gallery presents “Painted Objects: Luminous Portals” with works by Christen Mattix & Mary Jo Maute.” Painting on found objects, Christen Mattix and Mary Jo Maute turn ordinary things into luminous portals.  The use of ordinary objects, often taken for granted, roots the work in the everyday while offering fresh perspectives and insights.

Christen Mattix presents a new series of meticulously hand-painted portraits of local homeless people on wooden bowls, highlighting issues of identity, memory and value.  In addition, she will showcase a series of expressive charcoal drawings on hymnals in praise of African American history.

Painting on the ubiquitous recycled clipboard, Mary Jo Maute is showing work from three series: sketches painted in and around the decaying farm structures at Northern State Hospital Farm (now a recreation area), historic story poles and other structures around Lummi Nation tribal center, and vintage objects she has collected, painted in her backyard. Not meant to precisely document historic artifacts, her work is a means of exploration, contemplation and personal expression.

The first series, still life studies of humble vintage objects, began as a daily paint challenge with Christen Mattix in the summer of 2017. The project became an opportunity to study of form, color, light, and relationships while considering the design and significance of a vase, toy or family treasure.

This past summer Maute made numerous trips to Northern State Recreation Area formerly a working farm that was part of the Northern State Hospital for people suffering from mental illness. The farm buildings, designed by John Charles Olmsted, son of the famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted in 1911, now sit in a state of beautiful decay tucked in rolling hills with a gorgeous view of Skagit Valley. Huge dairy and horse barns, buildings that housed food processing equipment and boilers are open to the elements. Some are almost totally reclaimed by the elements — invaded by blackberry brambles and altered by graffiti.

Maute recently began a series of paintings at Lummi Nation where she studies and sketches historic story poles and other structures. Not meant to precisely document historic artifacts, her work is a means of exploration, contemplation and personal expression.

Christen is known for her writing, performance art, social practice, installation, painting and fiber art. She has exhibited at the Whatcom Museum, Smith and Vallee Gallery, and SAM Gallery, among others. Christen Mattix is grateful for her friendship with Mary Jo Maute, and the synergy that arises through their exchange of ideas.   Mary Jo Maute is a painter, printmaker and collaborative artist, with an MFA from University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is in many private and public collections.

Join us for the opening on First Friday Art Walk, Nov 2nd 6pm-10pm. The exhibit will run until Saturday Dec 1st. For more information about Art Walk or Make.Shift please visit our website at or contact the gallery director, Jessyca Murphy at

Earlier Event: October 5
Haunted Art House