Five Decades of Passionate Vision Exhibit Extended

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Joella Jean Mahoney is the rare artist blessed to create increasingly important work for more than 50 years. The current exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona provides a remarkably rewarding review of her impressive work and her growth as a contemporary master painter from the early 1950s to present.

American artist Joella Jean Mahoney’s large-scale paintings featuring her work in a one-woman show, Passionate Vision, at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff has been extended to January 29, 2006. In an extraordinary visual tour de force, the show examines the oeuvre of this fine art painter who for five decades has recorded the elemental essence of the Colorado Plateau in her distinctive commanding style.

Mahoney’s powerful emotive works, in often-abstract overtones, present vistas of the region’s vast astonishing and supernatural landscape and intimate spiritual spaces in true colors. Her inspiring work captivates and informs viewers of the force and beauty of the Colorado Plateau. It fuses the geological, the emotional, and the spiritual soul of this matchless landscape with incomparable brilliant technique.

Guest Curator Alan Petersen, Chair of Fine Arts, Coconino Community College, who curates the exhibit, puts his enthusiastic insight into the artist’s work this way: “Joella Jean Mahoney’s work continues a great tradition of romantic landscape painting in the Southwest. Her passionate vision is one of expansive topographic views of the land, as well as quiet interior spaces. Her style and commitment to her subject display a veracity and spiritual aspect equaled by few artists. Passionate Vision is a rare opportunity to experience the Colorado Plateau through the compelling artwork of a contemporary master.”

Museum Northern Arizona Director Robert Breunig says, “In this exhibit, Joella Jean Mahoney is presenting an incredible body of her work. Although these works are about this region, the effect of this art is not parochial—Joella Jean Mahoney touches universal themes and provokes deep emotions.”

"Mahoney creates art that comes from a special region, but her work is not regional. It is work of size and color; it is work of intimacy, sensuality and privacy. Her work transcends the confines of geography.” — John Reid, PhD.

Ruth Walker Maynard, architect and collector offers, "Joella’s huge paintings and magnificent colors seem to me to be an explosion of her vast ability. Every painting handles complex landscapes in ways that celebrate nature, color, art, and life."

“I am often told my paintings give the experience of being on this special landscape and create a new awareness of its beauty. This exhibit is so meaningful to me because it completes the cycle begun in 1951 when I came to Flagstaff,” states Mahoney. “As a young artist, I was awestruck at the vibrant power, mystery, and beauty of this place, which was revealed to me through exploration and in visits to MNA. The Colorado Plateau stands unique throughout the world. I have been blessed to have it provide me fulfilling unending inspiration and driving vision for my life’s work as an artist.”

Each of Mahoney’s 33 paintings will be accompanied by a personal story by the artist, revealing the artist’s inner thoughts. She states, “The color in my paintings is not an exaggeration. The Southwest is truly a land of color and color holds an emotional charge. It can be healing because it may bring up to the conscious level an awareness of feelings. The experience of beauty can also be healing, because it stimulates the feeling of wholeness.”

The Artist Reflects

“I was from Chicago, by way of California. I saw Arizona for the first time in 1951 when I stepped off the train in Flagstaff to attend college. It was dawn. The stars overhead were like lanterns, the sky was crystalline and in the distance the mountains were like cardboard cutouts. The sun came up and turned the scene into Technicolor. I saw a landscape that matched how I felt inside and I stepped into my future.”

Mahoney has a B.A. from Arizona State College, now Northern Arizona University, and an M.F.A. in painting and drawing from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. She is Professor of Art Emerita at the University of La Verne in California. Her work has been internationally exhibited through the Art in the Embassies Program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. She has had numerous exhibits, including an annual New York show and 30- and 40-year retrospectives at the Northern Arizona University Fine Art Museum, the West Valley Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, the University of La Verne Art Museum, and The Kolb Studio at the Grand Canyon. Mahoney is represented by Arte-Misia Gallery ( in Sedona, Arizona and the Red Stone Gallery ( on the Internet.

About the Museum

The Museum of Northern Arizona sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, just three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180. It seeks to inspire a sense of love and responsibility for the beauty and diversity of the Colorado Plateau. Additional information about Passionate Vision or the Museum is available at


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Michelle Mountain