Molly Magai

Molly Magai (

"I work at the intersection of industry and nature, describing human incursions into primarily natural environments, and artificial landscapes containing elements typical of landscape painting. I work mostly from snapshots taken from a moving vehicle. 

I use the tools of landscape painting – detail, distance, sweep, fall of light – to glorify these views. I can’t say I do this ironically or even intentionally. I want to show what is – the world, as it is and how we have changed it: complicated, ugly, and imperfect. I am not telling you what to make of it, but I can’t help seeking and finding transcendent beauty."

molly in studio.jpg

What art do you most identify with?

Contemporary photography and old landscape painting.  

How do you describe your work and how do you talk to a potential buyer? Give us the elevator pitch. 

I make paintings based on photos I take from the window of a moving car. A lot of the time I’m capturing the effects of speeding past something. I seek out places where humans intersect with nature – often this just means trees by the side of the road.  I think a lot about the abstract qualities of my work – the shapes and colors and brushwork.

If you could own a piece of art by any living artist, what would it be (or whose)? 

Something by Gerhard Richter. One of the blurry representational ones.

What kind of art could we find in your home?

Art by friends, art by my kid. There’s a giant ceramic eyeball I traded a painting for once, and a Vasarely print passed down to me by my parents. I have places to put up my pieces for a day or two as I work on them, to see if they’re done yet.

What is the best home for your art?

Someone’s home is the best home. A small piece is like a window into a created world. I love the idea that someone will look at my painting every day, and I try to make each one good enough that will stand up to years of looking.

What drives your artistic practice? What keeps you in the studio?

It’s the one thing that keeps me sane. 

Solo Exhibitions:

  • 2016 Shoreline Community College Art Gallery (Shoreline, Washington)
  • 2015 “Port City”, studio e (Seattle, Washington)
  • 2015 "The Modified Landscape" with Suze Woolf, Kent Art Commission's Centennial Center Gallery (Kent, Washington)
  • 2013 "More Paintings about Buildings and Cars" with Dara Solliday, Room 104 Gallery                   (Seattle, Washington)
  • 2012 Zeitgeist (Seattle, Washington)

Group Exhibitions:

  • 2015 “Seattle Seen,” Linda Hodges Gallery (Seattle, Washington)
  • 2015 “On the Brink,” Ellsworth Gallery (Santa Fe, NM)
  • 2013 “The Big Little Show,” Columbia City Gallery (Seattle, Washington)
  • 2013 "Cascadia,” Collar Works, Troy (New York, NY)
  • 2013 "Petroleum Paradox,” Narrows Center for the Arts (Fall River, Massachusetts)

Permanent Collections:

  • Private Collections