Born 1927, Oakland, CA
Mala Breuer grew up attending classes in painting and drawing from a young age at the California College of Arts and Crafts. After high school she attended the, now, San Francisco Art Institute where she studied under many notable artists, including Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, David Park, and Mark Rothko. Breuer matured as an artist in, and was profoundly affected by, the era of Abstract Expressionism, focusing more on material and application than representation. By the late 1960s, she was pouring water thinned washes of acrylic paint onto large, wet, stretched, vertical canvases. During an exhibition of those works, a San Francisco gallerist suggested that she head to New York, where abstraction, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art were continuing to gain traction. Breuer listened to this advice and set out to New York with intentions of staying only one year, she stayed for eight. In New York she began working with a palette knife, making direct, abstract marks with dark colors and with great density. She gained recognition as a significant painter during her time there. In 1984 she moved to northern New Mexico, a landscape that influenced Breuer’s use of color, light, and more minimal compositions. Breuer currently lives in New Mexico where she painted for another twenty-plus years; she is now retired from her studio practice.
Mala Breuer attended the, now, San Francisco Art Institute. Her work is included in the public collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, NM; the Albuquerque Museum; the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, NM; FIAC in Paris, France; Capital Group in Los Angeles, CA; and the Laura Carpenter Fine Art Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.
Studying under painters like Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still and Richard Diebenkorn, Mala Breuer launched her prolific life as an artist during the 1940’s in San Francisco. Bentley Gallery’s Mala Breuer: New York to Santa Fe exhibition highlights Breuer’s mid-career development as an Abstract Expressionist. Works from the 1970’s to 1990’s demonstrate the artist’s delicate reaction to both time and place as she moved across the United States.
The Arts Beacon : Mala Breuer at Bentley Gallery
Artist Mala Breuer’s Abstract Expressionist work can clearly be attributed to various interpersonal experiences and schools of thought, but reactions to time and place are also keys to understanding her paintings. Bentley Gallery’s exhibition Mala Breuer: New York to Santa Fe traces the artist’s mid-career movements over two decades, revealing how time and place greatly shaped her work and persona.