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by Bill Varble
The Mail Tribune, May 23, 2000

Alicia Mannix's art lives in a place where accidents rule. Chance strokes and happenstance meetings of sponges and other unlikely objects are the stuff of her collage, paintings and mixed media.

"I use pretty much everything but brushes," Mannix. says.

"I'm covered in paint when I paint. I dig my hands in and smear it around."

Using, say, a squeegee and a cleaning brush, maybe some old drop­ cloths, she creates paint­ings that resemble the gestural expressionism of a Willem de Kooning or a Jackson Pollock.

An exhibit of recent artworks by Mannix opened Friday at the Conversations With God Center at 400 Williamson St., just off Hersey Street in Ashland. The show remains up for a month.

Mannix says she felt artistically blocked for along time. She credits her new burst of creativity (three solo exhibits in less than one year) to pouring out her feelings in writing.

Mannix, 47, came to the United States from her native Poland more than 30 years ago. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in art and art history from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and spent years critiquing painting.

"It's very snobbish and theory‑ oriented," she says. "None of (the crit­ics) ever painted."

Mannix has lived in Southern Oregon 10 years, the last four in Ashland. She's the mother of an 8‑year‑old boy and two adult children.

Her son Thomas, chaf­ing at Mannix's art stuff spread about, recently said, "Mom, I'm tired of it. This is not an art gallery."

Mannix calls her style of painting Spontaneous Expressionism. Pieces run from still I life to abstract.

She says the key for her is to skip entirely any preconceived image and just start sketching. Sometimes surprising things emerge. What looks like a framed desert rock is actually cardboard with glue rubbed over the top and paint on top of that. Another painting that came pouring out is a mother cradling a baby done in bold swaths of yellow, brown, blue and red. She describes the piece and its Madonna theme as almost an accident. It started when she was playing with making circles in a new‑to‑her medium called gouache, a very thick water color. "I didn't have much time to work on it," she says. "My daughter came home from college and saw it and started freaking out. She ran to her backpack and took out a poem and started reading." The poem reads in part:

I saw a picture of us 
today 
A mother in thick robes 
over her head 
cradling a suckling child. 
I saw a faded and mushy 
browns and yellows and blues....

Many of Mannix's artworks crowd into her home, turning it into what could pass for an impromptu gallery.

"Viewing them all at once can be a dizzying experience," her friend Chris Ammon says.

Mannix says she focuses not on. product but process.

"The result is a combination of expressionism and my aesthetic sensibility and training."

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Alicia Mannix exhibits in Washington, D.C.

First east coast show for Ashland, Oregon, artist.

November 8, 2002
By Jim Reece

ASHLAND, OREGON-- Ashland artist Alica Mannix will join five colleagues in Washington D.C. November 8 for an exhibit of her new paintings inspired by the group's journey to Spain.

The exhibit, "Six In Spain" opened Friday November 8, 2002, at the
Artist's Museum, 406 7th Street NW in Washington. It will be the first of three painting exhibitions for Mannix in a five-month span, and her first out of Oregon and also on the east coast..

"The work is inspired by the incredible workshop that we were a part of in Frigiliana, Spain," Mannix said. The six were part of an Art Trekking
sojourn to the small, sleepy town near the Spanish Riviera.

Art Trekking, owned by D.C. resident and artist Rosalind Burns, takes
artists on location to Spain, Burns' homeland Chile and D.C. for painting
and artistic workshops with tutelage by professionals of multiple genres.

The group dreamed up the exhibit after seeing Spain in May, said Mannix. It was her first time to that country, where before workshops she visited the Joan Miro Museum in Barcelona, and found quite an influence.

"I was extremely transformed," Mannix said. "His art was very moving to me. I love doing childlike work, and his work seems like that of a
child's, although with a master's sophistication and depth, and a fondness for expression I equally share.

"There were a lot of larger pieces that were very impactful. He was using a lot of black borders and primary colors, which is what I love to do. So I found a lot of similarities in his work with mine."

Mannix plans to show her acrylic "Miro's Barcelona" in the "Six In Spain"
show.

"I used the colors of Spain in it. Pastel and white. Colors totally not
me."

"Six In Spain" will feature the art of Art Trekking owner Burns, plus
works by George Pierson of Silver Springs, Maryland, Irene Guy of
Tallahassee, Florida, and Mark Steele of Boston, and photography by Steve Silver of Alexandria, Virginia. Mannix will also host a two-day painting workshop, "Doodlism: Defeating Fear of the Blank Canvas," Saturday and Sunday November 9-10.

Mannix, born in Jawor, Poland, now resides in Ashland, Oregon. She is a
former Baltimore resident and took her bachelor's degree in art history at University of Maryland and master's in liberal arts with art history
concentration from Johns Hopkins University. The exhibit will be a
homecoming for her as her family still lives in Baltimore.

In March 2003, Mannix and her daughter Aletta Mannix will have a joint
display of paintings at Nuwandart Gallery in Ashland, Oregon, featuring
Alicia's Doodlistic -- doodle-born abstract expressionism, and boldly
colorful acrylics on canvas -- with Aletta's series of nudes with fruit,
which Alicia said her daughter renders "Van Goughish" with generous
pallette knife work.

Also in March, Mannix will solo exhibit to celebrate Women's History Month at the Lenore Donin Liebreich Art Gallery at the Mittleman Jewish
Community Center In Portland, Oregon, showing two new series, "Women's Genre" and "Abstract Judaica."

In April, she plans to show her work at D’Vine, 205 W. Cannon Perdido in Santa Barbara, California.

"Six In Spain" runs November 6-29.

Mannix's art may be seen in her virtual gallery at AliciaMannix.com;
Doodlism workshop and Art Trekking info is at ArtTrekking.com; photos of the six artists in Spain are at SteveSilverPhotography.freeservers.com; Nuwandart Gallery info can be found at Nuwandart.com; and Liebreich Art Gallery's web site and info is at OregonJCC.org

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"Does everybody know how to doodle?"

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Demonstration: February 20, 2002 
Walker Elementary School, Ashland OR 

ASHLAND -- Ashland artist Alicia Mannix spent a fulfilling morning -- a mere 15 minutes -- doing what she loves -- painting -- for the student body of her 10-year-old's school.

Mannix spoke and painted at Walker Elementary School in Ashland on Wednesday, February 20, 2002. She is the featured artist on the walls at the school of 260 students, grades 1-5.

She demonstrated to students, teachers, administrators and parents, and gave a few words on her spontaneous style of doing art which she calls "Doodlism" during the school's regular "Sharing Assembly," featuring poems, songs and performances by students, and the guest artist.

"I had no idea what I was going to do," she said later.

"So I set up my easel and my canvas and my house paints."

"I'm not here to talk about art, I'm here to do art, and show you a way to do it," she remembers saying, from the cafeteria stage.

"Do you ever find yourself not knowing what to paint because you never know how to start?" she asked them.

"Yes," they replied enthusiastically in unison.

"Does everybody know how to doodle?" she said.

"Yes," the children cried.

"That's all you need to know," she said. She showed her paints and brushes and tools, such as a sponge on a stick, then asked them what color she should begin with. Red was the color of choice of the happy children. "That's what I was going to start with," she said.

"So then I started splashing paint on the canvas," she said. The kids chose all the colors. After some time, she said, "I really don't paint on an easel. This is how I really paint. So I put the canvas on the floor and poured paint on it." Then she propped it up so the paint could drip down. "It's painting itself," she told them.

She stopped then, and fielded questions from the audience, and after awhile said she needed help finishing the painting, and asked if anyone would volunteer. Scores of hands flew up, and she chose four children to help her paint. A little later, the painting was done.

"I showed it to them and they started clapping," she said. "It was so incredible."

"That was my 15 minutes of fame," she said. "Andy Warhol was right."

Teachers and students alike approached her afterward, especially students from her son, Thomas Wray's fourth grade class who know her, to thank her and tell her how good the exhibition was.

"They were surprised that it came out not as a muddy mess, but as a nice looking piece," she said. But doodles are her form of generating expression and art, she admits, and grasps, as a style.

"I do a bunch of doodles and I just wait and some shapes come out," she said. "Everybody can do that."

The morning was fulfilling, she said, and the audience clapped and cheered. The painting, on a 36 by 48 inch canvas, is called "Shared Assembly" and will be on display at the school, along with two dozen paintings at Walker in her show, "Spontaneous Doodlism."

Her exhibit opened January 25. The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday during normal school hours.

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January 11 thru February 28, 2002 Rogue Gallery & Art Center 40 South Bartlett Street, and downtown Medford venues. 

Ashland artist Alicia Mannix will join area artists and writers in a 16-acre statement about terroristic atrocities of September 11.

The show, "Visual Rescue: Artists Respond to 9/11," will take up acreage in downtown Medford, using area equivalent to ground zero where once stood the World Trade Center towers.

Mannix will show a new acrylic titled "There Is No Place Like Home," which she painted after hearing about the Visual Rescue exhibit. The exhibit's organizers called for expressions derived from the bombings of September 11.

"I did not want to dwell on the horrors of it but concentrate on the impact -- the bonding impact -- that it had on the nation," Mannix said or her approach. It also shows the range of emotions she felt and recognized in others.

Mannix grew up in Poland and moved to Oregon from Maryland in 1979. She has shown in Portland, on the coast and in Ashland and will exhibit paintings in January at Walker Elementary School in Ashland.

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CategoriesPress Release
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First Friday December 7, 2001 ~ 5 p.m.
December 7-31, 2001 at Nuwandart Gallery, 258 A Street, Ste. 2, Ashland

By Plastic World NewsASHLAND, Oregon -- Plstc.Wrld.Nws -- Ashland, Oregon, artist Alicia Mannix will debut her latest stylistic bend toward functional art as part of a collective display in December at Nuwandart Gallery in Ashland.

The show, "Nuwandart Gift Shop: The Typical Ashland Art Gallery," opens 5 p.m. First Friday, December 7, 2001, and features a baker's dozen-plus artists, including new art by Mannix -- "functional art" such as paintings on tables and a portion of fencing -- and four of her newest paintings.

The show will be Mannix's second at Nuwandart, since her July debut solo show, "Boots, Wheels and Goddesses."

Titles including "Tree of Life," "Two or More," and others, make up a microtransition in Mannix's style, while two tables, crafted by a Torah classmate, burst with her stylistic presence.

Mannix will donate two other tables to her synagogue, and show at Walker School in January

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Alicia Mannix teaches the technique at Ashland's Nuwandart gallery.

Mail Tribune, April 21, 2002 
By BILL VARBLE

Josh Hogeland eyes his abstract painting critically, decides it is good.

"You  get to make up your own design," says the 11-year-old, "and just go crazy."

And that's precisely the point, Alicia Mannix says. An artist who says she struggled with her own fear of the blank canvas for 25 years, Mannix now teaches a technique she calls Doodlism. She says it stands in the same relation to theory-based art that jazz improvisation has to a classical music performance.

"You put yourself in the space of being 5 years old," Mannix says.

Maybe that's the reason it seems almost easier for the 11 kids ages 3 to 12 in Mannix's art class Saturday at Nuwandart, an Ashland gallery, than for some adult art students.

 "Training can, be restrictive Mannix says. "It Can make people think there's a limited number of ways of doing things."

The Doodlist painting/collage works created by Walker School fourth-graders lining a wall here testify. to the method's vitality. Each brought in a baby picture and a current picture of himself, and created a painting/collage/self-portrait, Doodlism students start by putting paint on Canvas with any instinctive gesture, anything at all. It's OK to drip paint throw paint smear it around with brushes, sticks, whatever.

Javier Banda, 6, had no trouble creating a colorful design he says started out to be a flag and took on a life of its own.

 "I'm going to do another one, too," he says.

I Noah Kileen, 9, says the best part is that "you get to smear all the colors around."

Other kids drizzle and drip paint Jackson Pollock‑style, onto canvases, paper, the floor, their shoes and in many cages themselves.

Underneath the mayhem, there's message, Mannix says. There are situations we can control, and things beyond our master.

"You create this chaos," she says. "And then you may notice an emerging shape. You introduce some order, make some aesthetic decisions."

She compares the process to the Big Bang with which physicists think the universe began.

She also compares it to giving birth ‑a moment in which the artist is not a ‑conscious doer but almost a kind of channel for something ultimately mysterious.

"It's a combination Of chaos and order," she says. "Which is pretty much what life is."

There's only one drawback, Josh Hogeland says, eyeing his painty shoes: "This is gonna stick to my skateboard."

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AuthorAlicia Mannix
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By Chris Ammon
Ashland Daily Tidings, August 13 – August 20, 1999

Arriving in the United States from Poland when she was 16, Alicia Mannix has spent much of her adult life studying art. But aside from a natural inclination to draw as a child, she has spent little time creating it.

After obtaining an M.A. in art history from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., Mannix moved onto a 20-year career in marketing, which she only recently ended. Now, this single mother of three pursues her true passion: painting.

Looking at her prolific collection of paintings (now on display at Bloomsbury Cafe upstairs in Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main), it is hard to believe that Mannix suffered from what she calls a "creative block" for 25 years.

Most of the paintings, which range from still-lifes to abstracts, were created in the last eight months. Mannix attributes some of her 25-year block to her European background.

"In Europe, there is a lot of judgment. You must strive to be great," she said. "There is a lot of pressure for success. You are either Picasso or nobody. That in itself blocked me."

So, instead of engaging in the creation side of art, Mannix settled for studying it from an academic perspective.

"I was afraid to do art," she explained. "So, I spent lots of time talking about art and writing critiques. When you study and critique art, it is helpful, but it's important to maintain your own sense of what you feel is good, important, and expressive. What harms people the most is judgment."

The judgment that Mannix refers to is not just judgment from other people but from herself, as well. She says, "Amazing things happen when one lets go of the need to be 'perfect' or adhere to any particular standard of style and technique."

In order to paint without being self‑critical, Alicia said she had to "completely redefine the process. I pick up the paintbrush, and I don't care. I'm going for it. Then, I've conquered the initial fear."

Not only does she begin her artwork without fear but also without any idea of what she is about to paint. Alicia calls this approach "spontaneous expressionism."

"I'm usually not that pleased with preconceived images," she said. "I just start sketching things. I take paint and pastels, and forms come out of it. My process for the last year is to have no concern for outcome."

Among the forms that emerge from her paintings is a small collection of nativity-like scenes of a mother and child. One, which is entitled "Mother and Child," is particularly striking; in bright swaths of color, Mannix depicts a loving, maternal scene.

Mannix says this piece is one of her favorites, and relates a small anecdote about a poem her daughter, Aletta, wrote before ever seeing the painting. Selected lines of the poem read, "I saw a picture of us/ today./ A mother in thick robes/ over her head/ cradling a suckling child./ I saw a faded and mushy/ browns and yellows and blues."

Looking at the painting after reading the poem, it's hard not to be struck by an uncanny resonance.

"This is a cosmic coincidence," Mannix says. "It blew my mind."

Mannix could not have created works like "Mother and Child" if she hadn't first unblocked her creativity. She credits this "unblocking" to the writing she has done in the last two years.

"Writing releases a lot of negative energy," she explains. "Once you can just pour it out everyday, you are free to do other things. The bottom line is not to be afraid. You must trust your inner guidance."

Trust your inner guidance. At her opening reception at the Bloomsbury Cafe, it was clear that Alicia Mannix has done exactly that.

While paging through her art-filled portfolio, she commented on how it previously served as her advertising portfolio. That very day, she had cleared out the posters and writings -- old vestiges of her marketing career -- and filled it up with her art to complement the show.

"This is a big day," she smiled.

Mannix's artwork will be on display through the month of August [1999] at Bloomsbury Cafe

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AuthorAlicia Mannix

1st Thursday, February 7th, 5 to 8 PM

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As a child in post-World War II Poland, Alicia Mannix began painting and drawing as soon she could hold a crayon. A Jewish child in a small Polish town, she would often sneak into the town`s magnificent Gothic church and spend hours gazing at the colorful stained glass windows, paintings and sculptures when no one  was around. In then anti-Semitic Poland, being spotted in a church would create an controversy among Alicia`s friends and neighbors. Some would grin with a sense of victory, commenting how she finally was coming to her senses by trying to become a Catholic. Others would curse and spit in her direction as though seeing a devil.  Nevertheless, the works of provincial Medieval religious art were Alicia's first influence on her color palette - bright and bold.

Mannix came to America in 1969 at the age of 16 and she and her family settled in Baltimore. While studying art at University of Maryland, College Park, she impressed her teachers with the richness of her drawings and paintings and was encouraged to become a professional artist. After graduating from Maryland in 1975, she went on to study Liberal Arts at the Johns Hopkins University immersing herself in books and writing rather than paints and brushes.

Mannix returned to painting in 1998 with an almost non-stop exploration of  dozens of styles and techniques. Viewers would be confused,  thinking that several artists were involved, only to find that it was Alicia "going wild" in all artistic directions. And this  is when her self-coined style "Doodlism" was born. She would embark on a creative journey with every piece by letting her subconscious do all the work while trying to turn off the rational mind and allow the hands to follow this mysterious process which always began with mindless doodling. "While doodling, one forgets the pressure of producing something good," said Alicia. She claims that creativity is often squashed by trying too hard to come up with a product, rather than letting the process guide the results. Her doodles would often create unintended images which she would  define and refine.

Mannix is writing a book on the subject, with the premise that any one can be an artist by following this simple technique. She has recently moved to Santa Barbara from Ashland, Oregon. The Book Den will show an eclectic collection of Mannix`s works beginning with the First Thursday in February.

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CategoriesPress Release

by Chris Ammon
Ashland Daily Tidings, May 19 - May 26, 2000
Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon - May 16, 2000

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ASHLAND --Painting has helped Alicia Mannix learn to appreciate accidents. Not the sort of "oops"-inducing mishaps that have come with raising three children -- tipped-over milk glasses, scraped-up knees and food stained shirts, but an "oops" of a different order -- the inspired accidents of artistic creation.

Working freely with different media, Mannix's approach to painting is based largely on the happenstance meetings of canvas, cloth, brooms, brushes, sponges and other materials she uses in her artistic process.

"When you are using these objects you have much less control," she explains. "So, you are inducing accidents." This playful sort of approach defines the technique that Alicia, who lived in Klamath Falls for several years, calls Spontaneous Expressionism.

"I am usually not pleased with preconceived images," she explains. "I just start sketching things. I take paint and pastels and forms come out of it. My process is to have no concern for outcome."

Sitting in her studio, she holds up a framed example. Although the texture and color of the piece suggests the surface of a pink desert rock, when she removes the glass frame it is clearly cardboard. She rubbed glue onto the cardboard to create texture and then painted over the top.

The piece is only typical of Mannix's insofar as its creation was based on a whim. In general, forms that emerge from her paintings vary wildly and unpredictably. From one painting to the next, the viewer is run through a gamut of impressions: Domestic and maternal themes dominate a nativity series while exotic gestures toward the far-away are hinted at in others.

The pieces crowd together in her Ashland home -- less a suggestion of a small house than of a profuse collection. Viewing them all at once can be a dizzying experience; one is not sure where to look with eye-catching hues and images beckoning from all directions.

When asked if the images, despite their semi-haphazard creation, depict her personal life in some way, Mannix is quick to respond, "Totally. In fact when I really want to find out what is going on in my life, I just start painting and the image tells me where I am and if I'm going somewhere. Things just come up through colors or images."

To illustrate the concept, Alicia pulls out a piece she calls "House Arrest." In the painting, a woman stands in her house and gazes at the world that lay outside the window. "When I was depressed and feeling trapped as a single mom, this painting came up. It was just exactly what I was feeling at the time."

If Mannix finds emotional orientation in the images that precipitate from her approach, she also finds therapeutic value in the artistic process itself -- especially when it comes to making last minute changes on a piece.

Mannix explains that, at times, the changes she feels compelled to make seem like mistakes. She states mournfully, "The way it was will never come up again so you have to transform it and grieve what is lost." And this is where the life metaphor comes in.

"It's been incredible for me to experience the losses and the gains, of ruining things and then -- most often than not -- something I think I have ruined turns into something magnificent. Isn't that a statement about life?

Mannix dwells, then, in a place where the accidental event reigns supreme. Chance meetings, unexpected turns, and "bad" brush strokes form the staple of her art.

Sitting on her couch, surrounded by her "accidents," Mannix reflects on how she only started painting a couple of years ago. Her life has changed since. She is now able to view upsetting life experiences more artistically or, as she puts it, as "invitations to something more incredible."

As she speaks, her Dalmatian sits next to her seeming humorously appropriate with the random smattering of brown spots covering his body like flung paint. She smiles and pets him. "Two years ago," confesses Alicia, "I didn't perceive this process."

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PORTLAND, OREGON – Ashland, Oregon artist Alicia Mannix will help mark Women’s History Month and celebrate her faith with a dual exhibit of her paintings and art at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center in Portland.

Mannix will exhibit “Feminine Fertility/Abstract Judaica” in March at the Lenore Donin Liebreich Art Gallery in the Mittleman community center, with an artist’s reception to kick off the month-long exhibit.

"Exhibiting during Women's History Month is important to me," said Mannix. "It seems to be a great time to show this vein of my art. For me, when I paint in my women and children themes, it's really painting myself, celebrating myself. To me it signifies my femininity, which usually is connected to my body and childrearing."

The main focus of the show is women's history, Mannix said, but the other half of the show, "Abstract Judaica" is about her Jewish faith and her celebration of it.

"There is going to be a collection of Kabbalah-inspired art, based on my love for and enthusiasm in the study of mystical Judaism," Mannix said.

"It should reveal to viewers my fascination with Hebrew letters and their mystical qualities."

"I have been copying the Torah randomly on antique colored paper, then cutting them up, tearing them apart and putting them together as collages," she said. "Most above say Yad/hey Vov/hey, or the unspeakable name of God."

"I just love the way the Hebrew text looks," Mannix said. "The body of Hebrew writing is just beautiful to me. It evokes this unknown feeling to me, this feeling like I know these letters from somewhere. I feel this generic knowledge of them."

Mannix is a Jewish immigrant, born in Jawor, Poland. She moved to the United Stated at age 16 with her parents, grew up in Baltimore, and holds a Master's Degree in liberal arts with an art history concentration from Johns Hopkins University.

Mannix debuted as a painter in 1999 with instant success in sales to collectors and with exhibits, including both coasts and multiple solo shows on the west coast. Her style captivates people of all ages with an array of bold and alluring colors and images, and depthfully soulfelt and touching renderings of women and children, which paintings in acrylic will make up the main body of her exhibit at the MJCC.

Mannix's art has been acquired by collectors and chosen to grace a fundraising product label and the cover of a Gold Beach travel magazine. She teaches her painting style in workshops, "Doodlism: Defeating Fear of the Blank Canvas."

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AuthorAlicia Mannix