Cynthia Mailman

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Cynthia Mailman
Bronx, New York
Alma materSchool of Industrial Art, Pratt Institute, Mason Gross School of the Arts
OccupationPainter, educator

Cynthia Mailman (born 1942 in Bronx, New York) is an American painter and educator. She is known for figurative and landscape works done in a "cool, pared-down" style.[1] Her early paintings were presented from a perspective inside the artist's VW van, looking outward, and include mirrors, wipers or other interior elements against the exterior landscape.[2] By doing this, Mailman put the observer in the driver's seat, which is also the artist's point of view.[3] According to Lawrence Alloway, "The interplay of directional movement and expanding space is a convincing expansion of the space of landscape painting".[4]


Mailman graduated with an academic diploma in Advertising Art and Illustration from the School of Industrial Art (SIA), earned a BS in Fine Art and Education from Pratt Institute, and received an MFA in painting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.[5]


Cynthia Mailman was an active participant in the feminist art movement.[6] She was an original member of SOHO20 Artists (est. 1973), often called SOHO20 Gallery,[7] a feminist, artist-run exhibition space.[8] Mailman also participated in The Sister Chapel, a collaborative installation that celebrated female role models, which premiered at P.S.1 in January 1978.[9] For The Sister Chapel, Mailman painted God, a monumental painting of the supreme deity in the form of a powerful nude woman.[9][10][11][12][13][14]


In 1979, Mailman was commissioned to create a mural for the PATH train concourse at the original World Trade Center. The commission was by the Port Authority of NY and NJ through the CETA Artist Project. The 8-by-54-foot mural was entitled Commuter Landscape, a view of the Pulaski Skyway as seen through the train windows. It was seen by over 100,000 people a day. It was destroyed in the first terrorist attack on the WTC in 1993.[15][16] Other commissions came from City Walls, Inc. for a 24-by-26-foot wall mural in Staten Island, and from The Wall Street Journal for the 2000 Cow Parade in NYC[17]


Mailman has had over 20 solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group shows. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Everson Museum, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, the Staten Island Museum,[18] as well as the Sylvia Sleigh Collection at the Rowan University Art Gallery.[19] Her work is also in numerous private collections. Mailman has received grants from the New York State (1976, 1987) and Staten Island, NY (1987) art council, as well as from the NJ Committee on the Humanities (1979) and a CAPS grant (1976). Her work has been reviewed and discussed in many major newspapers and art journals[20][21][22][23][24][25][26](see below).


  1. ^ Heller, Jules & Nancy G. (2013). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. Routledge. p. 359. ISBN 9781135638825.
  2. ^ Lubell, Ellen (April 13, 1978). "Art Review" (V. 5 No 28). SoHo Weekly News.
  3. ^ Shirey, David L. (1 November 1981). "Art; THE VIEW FROM WITHIN". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  4. ^ Alloway, Laurence (April 26, 1978). "Art Reviews". The Nation: 486.
  5. ^ 40 Years of Women Artists at Douglass Library, The Roots of Creativity: Women Artists Year Six. "Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Veteran Feminists of America. Records, 1993-2007: A Container List". Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Organization History". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  8. ^ Ault, Julie, ed. (2002). Alternative Art New York, 1965-1985: A Cultural Politics Book for the Social Text Collective ([Nachdr.] ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0816637942.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b Hottle, Andrew D. (2014). The Art of the Sister Chapel: Exemplary Women, Visionary Creators, and Feminist Collaboration. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-1472421395.
  10. ^ Borzello, Frances (1998). Seeing ourselves : women's self-portraits. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 978-0810941885.
  11. ^ Glueck, Grace (Nov 5, 1976). "Art People". New York Times.
  12. ^ Johnston, Laurie (Jan 30, 1978). "The 'Sister Chapel': A Feminist View of Creation". New York Times.
  13. ^ Brand, ed. by Peg Zeglin (2000). Beauty matters. Bloomington [u.a.]: Indiana Univ. Press. p. 241. ISBN 9780253213754.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Langer, Sandra L. (Winter 1979). "The Sister Chapel: Towards a Feminist Iconography, with Commentary by Ilise Greenstein". The Southern Quarterly. 17 (2): 29–32.
  15. ^ MacFarquhar, Larissa (March 15, 1993). "Ars Brevis". The New Yorker. p. 32.
  16. ^ "Public Art at the World Trade Center".
  17. ^ "CowParade New York, NY cow detail - Herd on the Street III: Blue Moo-n". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  18. ^ Mailman, Cynthia. "Highway Scene-Staten Island Museum". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  19. ^ Sylvia Sleigh Collection. "Rowan University Art Gallery".
  20. ^ Fressola, Michael (Nov 24, 2015). "'Seen' it to believe it". The Staten Island Advance.
  21. ^ Fressola, Michael (March 9, 2009). "Playing well together". "Extirpated Species/Whispering Reed Villa/Summer,". The Staten Island Advance.
  22. ^ Broude, edited by Norma; Garrard, Mary D. (1994). The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810937321.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "Claiming Space: Some American Feminist Originators".
  24. ^ Miller. [et al.], Lynn F. (1981). Lives and works: talks with women artists. Metuchen N.J.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810814587.
  25. ^ Delbanco, Andrea (19 November 2000). "PLAYING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD". New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  26. ^ Lovejoy, edited by Margot; Paul,, Christiane; Vesna, Victoria (2011). Context providers : conditions of meaning in media arts. Bristol, UK: Intellect. p. 32. ISBN 978-1841503080.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)