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Join us for an art department lecture - Courting the Unseen - with Maria Molteni.

Maria Molteni (They/She b 1983, Nashville) is a queer interdisciplinary artist, educator, writer, mystic and founder of the international collective New Craft Artists in Action. Descending from TN square dancers, stunt motorcyclists, quilters, beekeepers and opera singers of various European backgrounds, Molteni is the first working artist in their family. Their practice has grown from formal studies in Painting, Printmaking and Dance to incorporate research, ritual and play-based collaboration with the living and dead.

Molteni enjoys tactile and tactical problem solving, giving shape to the unseen. From fiber to found-object sculpture, textile to video, performance to publication, they choose media that combine conceptual rigor, formal satisfaction and spiritual depth. Molteni pictures themself as a Phys Ed coach for visionary communities like Shakers, Bauhaus or Black Mountain College. 

Molteni’s studio practice expands toward innovative, site-specific ground work which they call “anti-monuments” and “altars to the sky”, often transforming athletic spaces. The artist’s formal painting education (Boston University) placed emphasis on male painters of the Abstract Expressionist movement. As a queer feminist, Molteni seeks to recontextualize the notion of “action painting”, by which Pollock’s canvas became “an arena in which to act”. Molteni transforms the arena into a painting, the court into a surreal multi-use labyrinth for all kinds of bodies, the monument into a horizontal commons. This work also reflects a marriage of the artist’s personal history as an athlete/dancer combined with their desire to make painting more embodied and accessible to the public. 

Molteni has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums as well as basements, meadows, sidewalks and seascapes across the globe. More formal institutions include The Momentary Contemporary Art Museum (Bentonville, AK), MFA & ICA Boston (MA), Project Rowhouses (Houston, TX), Den Frei Contemporary Art Center (Copenhagen, Denmark), Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (MA), NGBK (Berlin), Fruitlands Museum (Harvard, MA), Museum of Design (Atlanta, GA), Conduit Gallery (Dallas, TX), Flower Head (LA, CA), Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton, MA), Fitchburg Art Museum (Fitchburg, MA), Space Gallery (Portland, ME), BAK (Utrecht, Netherlands), A Plus A (Venice, IT), SLOMA (CA). 

www.mariamolteni.com / www.ncaacollective.net / @strega_maria

Presented by the Art Department and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation in conjunction with The Locker Room (exhibition March 27–June 30, 2024) organized by jackie sumell, the 2023/24 Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Art at Colgate University and Studio CAJAIR.

The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Artist-in-Residence was established in 1986 as a challenge grant in support of the arts at Colgate. The residency program permits one or more artists or scholars in each of the areas of fine arts, music, and theater to become part of the Colgate community every academic year.

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