Home, 1996 (detail)

In Marja Vallila’s metal sculptures, the formal energy of early modern abstraction is reinforced by a curious incorporation of objects and images of daily life. Proceeding through a sequence of carving and casting processes, Vallila works diligently at each detail of her frequently small-scale sculptures, lending them a sense of compacted energy which is in turn magnified by the stubborn, jutting shapes that she prefers. It is often possible to find multiple references in each of Vallila’s finished pieces, from the natural (coral reefs, shrubs, clouds) to the man-made (coffee cups, pyramids, chariots) to the art historical (Giacometti, cave paintings). Although this eclecticism does not exactly qualify Vallila as a post-modernist, it does enable her to move freely among a range of associations, and to invite the viewer to identify with the sources for her art on a purely subliminal level.

(excerpt from Dan Cameron's catalog essay, click to see full text)