Body WORKs: Melinda Cootsona, Goli Mahallati, Daniel Ochoa & Hugh Leeman

September 14 - October 1, 2022

Body WORKs - four artists celebrate humanity


Delving into the many ways there are to see one another, Studio Shop Gallery presents “Body WORKs,” a show of figurative paintings highlighting the work of Melinda Cootsona, Goli Mahallati, Daniel Ochoa and Hugh Leeman from September 14 through October 1. All four artists will speak about their work on Friday, September 16th from 5 – 8 pm. While each artist’s style is unique, all honor the complexity and beauty of the human form. Ochoa and Leeman work in the school of Disrupted Realism, Cootsona is influenced by Diebenkorn, and Mahallati references the Color Field school.


“Figurative painting allows me to enter my own mind, body and soul to discover my thoughts as I interact with the painting. I listen to
what the work is saying to me, I reflect on that, and inevitably, I grow.”




Cootsona’s abstract figurative work, with its use of lines and composition, is a nod to her BA in Architectural Interior Design received her BFA from the California College of the Arts in Oakland in 1981. Her process always begins as an abstract, with multiple layers of shapes, lines, patterns and colors built up multiple times before she even considers the ultimate “subject matter.” Often her paintings depict personal private moments.



After having lived and traveled literally worldwide, self-taught artist Leeman settled in San Francisco and began combining his sensitivity for self-empowerment of all people with his eye for portraiture. Leeman’s artwork and projects focus on community collaboration and social interaction.



Born in Iran where opportunities for women were often limited, Mahallati’s warm toned acrylic paintings depict humanity that is noble and free. Choosing a palette knife instead of a traditional brush, Mahallati lays down bold areas of color and texture that bring out the beauty and dignity to her individuals.



Daniel Ochoa’s artwork is influenced by his culturally diverse childhood in Northern California with a Mexican father and American mother. He paints in layers, with masking techniques that jumble abstraction and realistic representation. He explores the very complexity of identity, using images from Google Street View, the NASA API, and social media networks to suggest there is a pluralistic reality filled with ambiguity and obscurity.