Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, at 435 South Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico will present "Too Near the Sun", an exhibition of encaustic works by gallery artists Mark Kane, Maria Hwang Levy, J Mehaffey and Russell Thurston. This show is opening in conjunction with "Waning and Waxing: The Resurgence of Encaustic", by the New Mexico Wax Group.
" ... for every looping flight, a tap on the wing and a reminder that wax cannot hold the feathers firm too near the sun." - John Steinbeck
The title "Too Near the Sun" is not only a reference to the heated encaustic medium, it also refers to the story of Icarus as a metaphor for the artist. Maria Hwang Levy says that "art is our set of wings". Indeed making art is a heroic undertaking.
Mark Kane, who was born in New York City and has resided in Santa Fe since the 1980's, creates encaustic paintings from cold wax. His abstract surfaces and textures are an expression of the artist's exploration of the unknown. He says, "I paint because of how it feels, the sensate aspects of the experience and the elation of discovery." Kane has shown his work extensively in New Mexico, as well as nationally and internationally.
Maria Hwang Levy, was born in Taiwan, raised in Costa Rica, and currently lives in Santa Fe with her husband and three sons. She studied architecture and graphic design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. She creates encaustic sculptures, inspired by root vegetables and fruits, which she refers to as vessels. Her vessels are receptacles for her thoughts, memories and feelings, and symbolize the sprouting of what may be contained in the vessel. Using wax (an ancient material) helps Levy to keep a balance amid today's pervasive computers and technology. "Encaustic is so durable that it has been found in ancient Greek tombs, yet so delicate that it will melt if left in the sun. It is the perfect metaphor for most things in life," she says.
J Mehaffey, who lives and works in Carson, New Mexico, began her artistic career late in life. After being married for 25 years and when her two children were entering high school, she decided to attend New Mexico State University, gaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Shortly after, she was accepted into the graduate program at the University of New Mexico to pursue her ultimate passion, painting. Mehaffey received her Masters in Fine Arts degree in 1993. Mehaffey uses tar, encaustic and gold leaf in her paintings, creating many layers. She then digs back through the layers, as an archeologist digs, finding forms and clues to her own expression.
Russell Thurston, was born in Oklahoma, raised in Southern California, and currently lives in Santa Fe. He received his Masters in Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the mid 1980's. For the past 20 years he has worked as an illustrator and photographer, while showing his art in galleries in California, Chicago, New York and Santa Fe. Thurston's intricate encaustic paintings use beeswax, pigment and tree resin along with objects including photos, dried plants, insect wings or microchips which are collaged into the warm wax surface before it dries. He says that encaustic is, "the perfect medium for looking at subjects that interest me - nature, science, technology and the human condition."
The New Mexico Wax Group, is a statewide organization of professional artists whose use of encaustic ranges from traditional to contemporary. Their purpose is to exhibit the work of their member artists, to educate the public about the encaustic medium, and to exchange information and techniques for working with encaustic. "Waning and Waxing: The Resurgence of Encaustic", will feature a selection of works by members of the group, juried by Zane Bennett Contemporary Art.
Encaustic Demonstrations: On Saturday, March, 21, 2009 from 2 to 3 pm, Russell Thurston will be giving a free demonstration at the gallery called How to Integrate Oil Paint, Oil Sticks, and Dry Pigments Into the Encaustic Process. We expect additional encaustic demonstrations to be given by New Mexico Wax artists and will send information as soon as the details are known.