A public garden & cultural center

Rita MacDonald

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Glyndor Gallery Chair Rail, 2017, pencil and paper, 5.75 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

To create her drawings, Rita MacDonald revisited Glyndor Gallery with her camera to capture some of the architectural details of this Georgian Revival home. What emerged back in her studio was a series of intimate drawings of the building’s interior-design elements, her carefully crafted, graphite snapshots challenging the viewer to take note of the particular features of the surrounding galleries. Focusing on molding, chair rails and floorboards, the artist’s attention to detail elevates the gallery from an everyday interior into a contemplative and grounding experience, from a space that hosts art to one that is itself a work of art.

Sunroom Project Space| April 3–May 16, 2010

Duplex, 2010, paint and plaster on wall, 17 x 17 feet. Courtesy of the artist.

Wave Hill announces Duplex, by Rita MacDonald, the first exhibition of five in the 2010 Sunroom Project Space. As part of Wave Hill’s Workspace Program, MacDonald has been working on site during the month of March. For this work, she has created an elaborate wall painting which utilizes patterning, repetition and optical illusion to move the viewer’s eye about the room. Starting with two patterns, a two-tone, green ivy motif and a graphic image of white birds, MacDonald made large stencils through which she applied paint and plaster directly onto the room’s walls. The image begins as a flat pattern, mimicking wallpaper, then contorts through space as it spreads over the wall, seeming to bend and move against the wall’s flatness.

By manipulating the scale and dimension of a pattern, MacDonald alters the painting’s perspective, disorienting the viewer. In doing so, she heightens the visual experience of the space, accentuating the room’s distinct architecture and calling attention to the dramatic views visible beyond its four large windows. The vines and birds, depicted in a deliberately stylized way, offer a striking contrast to the natural landscape. MacDonald is also interested in the role that decorative patterns play in a memory, pointing to the emotional resonance that the recollection of an ordinary element of domestic material, such as the design on a sheet of wallpaper, can hold. Here, these many layers of meaning converge to create a subtly unsettling and quietly powerful intervention in the room.


Duplex, 2010, paint and plaster on wall, 17 x 17 feet. Courtesy of the artist.

Duplex (study), 2010

Duplex (study), 2010, paint and plaster on wall, 17 x 17 feet. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist website


The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.