A Reflection on MALAISE

By Nahdi Patterson '15

On January 15, I attended the opening of an installation at the Art Street Gallery entitled Malaise. This art installation featured work created by Mallory Tay, a University of Dayton alumna.

Malaise is centered around the art of crocheting. It features three female figures. Two of these figures are shown interacting with one another while the third stands in solidarity. Hanging above the figures are multi-colored crochet sheets. The way in which they are arranged suggests that they may represent the walls of a house. Tay also incorporates objects such as a cell phone and a couch throw that are crotched as well. The entire installation is bright in color.

Malaise represents modern family life in the United States. It shows the highs and lows in family relationships. For example, the disconnect within families can be understood by analyzing the two figures shown embracing each other. One of the figures is looking at her cell phone and appears to be disengaged while the other is hugging her. A positive aspect of this installation is the figure who stands by herself. Viewers can understand that she is strong, brave, independent and optimistic through her body language and the crochet pattern that forms her exterior.

Mallory Tay’s crochet pieces are metaphorical. The process of crocheting requires linking, connecting and intertwining strands of yarn together. Like crochet, families are linked and connected through relationships and by blood. Although dysfunction is common among most families, family members continue to be bonded together no matter what.

Malaise can provide viewers with a sense of assurance. Despite the troubles that many families experience, the bond of family is hard to break. All of the elements in Tay’s works are somehow related and connected. The vividly colored yarn that she uses provide viewers with a sense of cheerfulness. Ultimately, family is what places us on Earth and what molds people into who they will become in the future.

Nahdi Patterson is a senior art history major at the University of Dayton. MALAISE: Mallory Tay is on display at ArtStreet's White Box Gallery through February 19th. 

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