Secret Stairways

 Meredith Moles

Hundreds of secret stairways lead up and down the hills of the Bay Area. From them you can glimpse alleyways and backyards, spot deer and wild turkeys, and take in sweeping views. My stairway paintings travel along these paths, carving them out with crooked angles, sweeping curves, light and shadow, and warm, happy colors. While showing you some of the journey, the paintings also inspire you to imagine the next part of the adventure. Where do those playground slides lead? What would you see from the top of the hill? 

The series combines my lifelong delight in the playfulness of stairways—their ups and downs and curves and turns— with a fascination with secret spaces: private backyard nooks, hidden passageways, treehouses, and more. They also reflect my love of the warm rolling hills of the Bay Area, which feel particularly peaceful and welcoming in the midst of the loneliness and fear of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place.

In the spirit of Picasso and David Hockney, these paintings explore how to paint things the way we really see them. They show a stairway not as if the viewer were staring at it from just one point—an artificial view—but as we truly experience it: walking up the path, looking left, looking right, glancing back down; taking in the broad view, and admiring each petal on a flower.

 

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