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Nikki Maloof’s paintings depict the world hidden within the mind. Imagined interiors, and animals become proxies for the human experience. Her subjects convey existential loneliness, but that loneliness is buoyed by humor, capricious paint handling, and the use of a saturated palette. A squiggle depicting ground meat, a cat’s meow being mistaken for a howl, or a comically disillusioned fish being filleted before our eyes, all draw the viewer’s attention to the melancholic and at times brutal tone of the imagery. At the same time, the paint handling and colors attempt to undermine the dark nature of these images all together. This self-defeating melodrama points to an ambivalent view of existence, to a need to laugh and cry and even at once.