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Heather Gaudio Fine Art opens mixed-media exhibition of works by a group of women artists
Jessica Drenk, “Wave”, Carved PVC-pipe.

NEW CANAAN, CONN.- Heather Gaudio Fine Art is presenting Matters at Hand, a mixed-media exhibition of works by Sarah Amos, Pegan Brooke, Beth Dary, Jessica Drenk, Valeria Nascimento and Cheryl Ann Thomas. The show opened April 20th and will run through June 17th.

This all-women exhibition explores an appreciation for the natural world, its beauty and ephemerality. Through the use of different mediums and a range of aesthetics, the artists share an attention to detail, an inherent curiosity and instinctual understanding of materiality. They are also keenly in tune with cultural narratives that remind us that we are all part of a universal continuum.

Master printmaker Sarah Amos uses a complex set of techniques to render richly-textured one-of-a-kind collagraphs. On view will be a mural-sized banner depicting elaborate patterns of architectural and natural forms with an interesting use of spatial language. Amos’ work looks to science and cultural references, mostly from her native Australia. Similar systems of information can be inferred in Jessica Drenk’s work, particularly in her Bibliophylum series. Made up of pieces of carved, wax-embedded books pinned onto the wall, Drenk’s installations suggest codeces and collected classification of information. She also re-contextualizes a more utilitarian material, carved PVC pipe, to make wall-mounted sculptures evoking wave patterns seen in water.

Also turning to water and other natural environments for inspiration are the paintings by Pegan Brooke. Varying reflections of light and its fleeting essence are represented in patterned gradations of neutral to frosty and dark hues. Brooke’s oils and added pigments are formed from pure elements of the earth, such as micas, pewter powders and iron oxides. The subtly shimmering surfaces slow us to a place where we can reconvene with our most basic contemplative, natural state of being. Beth Dary, on the other hand, approaches our relationship with nature and its environment in a more direct, if but political, fashion. Her egg-tempera Littoral drawings and glass push-pin sculptures reference our cultural impact on bodies of water. Tidal flow changes and organisms emerge from our presence or intervention; Dary’s work serves as a reminder that our relationship with the environment is ever fluctuating and symbiotic.

Two artists in the show turn to an ancient medium borne out of the earth itself: ceramic. Cheryl Ann Thomas’s porcelain clay sculptures stretch the process of materiality with hollowed and collapsed columns of finely textured clay. Thomas builds up elongated strands of coil upon coil, very much in the manner of the way things grow in nature. Her repeatedly fired and fused vessels resemble fabric or peeled tree bark and, as with Brooke’s paintings, her colors also source the earth for pigments, such as cobalt, manganese or copper. Brazilian-born Valeria Nascimento shares similar soft, muted tones in her own hand-made porcelain sculptures that are also nature inspired. The malleable material allows her to create petals, flowers and cups clustered into groups, at times occupying entire walls. Her blossoms can transform an indoor environment with their delicate beauty.

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