Stephanie Hargrave – January 7th – 30th, 2016

Hargrave.capra hircus.350


January 7th -30th 2016
Reception: First Thursday January 7th, 5-8 pm

Artist Statement
This body of work has been permeating out of me for the past few years. As someone who is fascinated with growth, especially at the cellular level, the title seemed fitting because each of these paintings, like cells, contain organella forms within them. There is a trace of the Petri dish in the work, and hopefully a feeling of looking into something that isn’t quite knowable but still makes sense.

In general, my encaustic work strives to combine biology and botany with imagery that isn’t necessarily overt, but feels ultimately familiar. I am influenced by the shapes of natural structures as varied as pollen, vertebrae, DNA strands, sea urchins, cellular structures, eggs, blooms, bones, husks, organs, and most recently, insects and forms related to the ovine. I abstract the natural world, be it animal or plant, and embellish in small details with mark making techniques that are at times impulsive scratches and at other times lyrical lines. I focus on palette, and also strive for a lushness of surface.

Organella is more abstract than work in years past. I had less care as to whether the work was appealing, and more focus how I was feeling as the painter. I held a handful of objectives in mind as I worked – to combine transparency and opacity effectively, be mindful of lightness and richness, and utilize what I call ‘aggregate’ masses in conjunction with quiet line work in order to find balance compositionally and stay direct with my intended meaning for the work.

The organic emphasis is in direct correlation to the raw materials (beeswax, resin and pigments). By applying hundreds of thin coats, each fused to the prior, I can attain the transparency and luminosity that is possible with wax. I carve into the surfaces with pottery tools and dental instruments to explore varying line weight. Quiet pencil drawings on tissue paper get burnished and layered into the wax. I approach each piece without any pre-conceived idea or sketch – each grows naturally through the process of layering, decision making, eliminating, receding, assessing, and at some point, acknowledging when it’s time to walk away – something I feel the natural world has mastered.