Paula Mahoney uses art as a way to mediate her relationship to death and as an expression of lamentation. She explores the arbitrariness of death and personal loss using performative photography and portraiture. Seeing death as a necessary and optimistic viewpoint, which should be held close. Mahoney investigates lamentation through her work, suggesting psychological shifts that create an awareness of our limits, and connect us to each other, and to a greater whole. She acknowledges that where religion sees death as infinite, transcendence from the limits of mortality, in a largely secular society such as Australia, death is the ultimate limit.
Mahoney is interested in the notion of control of her own mortality, while also paying homage to the ghosts of her parents and ancestors. The resulting works are at times her Memento Mori, a manifestation of her own death, her own self-mourning, and an exploration of collective mourning.
Mahoney holds a PhD at Monash University, Using Photography as an Analogy in the Experience of Death and Mourning. She has received two Highly Commended in the prestigious Olive Cotton Award and has been a finalist in many major art prizes in Australia and abroad. Her work is held in public and private collections both in Australia and the USA.