An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Maura Whelan '10


I have always been interested in how we claim places, and how those places claim us in return. How we cultivate places to inhabit, settle into them, leave them, and then return to them in our memories and dreams. I combine traditional landscape painting with collage and abstraction to investigate the relationship between place, memory, and the body. Though my primary medium has always been oil paint, I also enjoy the unexpected images that arise from combining images through collage.

This group of work, Home/Body, emerged when, like many others, I stayed home for Covid-19 for the three months between April and June, isolating in my parents-in-law’s house in Connecticut. I had never been interested in houses or man-made structures, opting usually for animals and natural forms, yet I started drawing out of the window on my iPad because I had nothing else to do. David Hockney, a master of iPad painting, inspired me, as did the Impressionists with their insistent repetition of favorite subjects. Over and over, the same tree and the same house across the street. In late May I started wondering about other people and their experiences. All of us were shaping these new weird relationships with our places; what did that look like? These collages are pulled together from photographs and drawings that friends and family members sent me of the places they have claimed in quarantine. A corner of the kitchen, a childhood bedroom. A view out a window offers respite from a New York apartment. A parent-in-law’s front door. Lots of pets. The house across the street, again. When our daily reality is limited to our houses, imagination offers a great escape. Collaging these images together allowed my mind to create imagined landscapes with my loved ones and wander around them, even if my body still had to stay home.

The following people contributed to the collages: Francine, Claire and Tim O’Brien; Amy O’Brien; Mark Whelan; Jan and Hugh Whelan; Ariana Gover-Chamlou and Drew McDonald; Doug Stuart and Kathleen Newman; Danielle Howard; Julia Metzger; Tomer Yavetz and Kerry Brodie; Katie and Taylor Barton; Becca Hart.


Artist Video