The works in Shielded State were originally inspired by images of protective gear worn by medical personnel, law enforcement, protesters, and others since the pandemic hit in 2020. As the series evolved, the narrative has included both past and current practices and situations in our lives. The forms mark a shift in Mahoney’s work from fully three-dimensional to wall relief, emphasizing the shield-like nature of the barriers and façades we invent. They allude to the multiplicity of ways we create or experience separation from one another.