Molly Greene

Unsolicited life forms

Molly Greene (she/her) was born in 1986 in Cornwall, Vermont, in the United States. Greene is currently based in Los Angeles, California.

Education

Molly Greene has four qualifications from Yale university, including a Master’s in Environmental Sciences and another in Philosophy. She also received her PHD in American Studies from Yale in 2019.

Did you know?

Molly Greene started painting in 2018, when she moved to Los Angeles to finish her dissertation for her PHD. When she arrived, she was inspired by the nature of California, combined with her recent studies, and so began to paint.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Through her paintings, Molly Greene calls into question society’s binary nature. She displaces familiar objects in her paintings, creating images that are impossible to categorise. Organic matter like hair, scientific dissections, and plants are spliced and morphed into one semi-surrealist object. This single form is then depicted against a timeless, psychedelic background. To begin with, her works start as rough sketches. She then chooses her illustrations and blows them up on a canvas, using acrylic or oil paint to create her airbrushed images.Through her work, Greene aims to create “entities that disturb the viewer's impulse to taxonomise”.

Her hybrid forms appraise social boundaries and ask what it means to be human in the modern world –“I’m starting to play in that space between conventional ideas of what a human should be and what a human could be”. Her work Armed Response (2020) attests to this; a symmetrical plant blooms in the centre, portrayed as if it’s made out of hair. Showing the influence of surrealist painters like Magritte, her jarring use of an intimate feature also highlights how obsessed society is with pinpointing identity. For Greene, ‘the self’ is an entity that is constantly evolving – something that resists all attempts to be neatly defined.

“An ornament can be viewed as inherently excessive, inessential or superfluous to the thing that it decorates. Yet I see the way one ornaments oneself, through everything from dress to gesture, as inextricable from the performance of self.”Molly A. Greene