Friday, March 23, 2012

Tracing Tangents - The Work of Michael Kessler & Shawna Moore


Rather than spend my St. Patrick's day getting hammered in a bar, I went to an artists' reception at Gallery Mar. Tracing Tangents was a show for Santa Fe artist, Michael Kessler, and Montana artist, Shawna Moore, and was by far one of the more fun St. Patty's Days I've spent. Everyone was decked out in green to see the amazing works by these two wonderful artists who had come for the show. As one might expect from the title, geometric designs played a star roll in each of their works, albeit handled uniquely by each artist.

Kessler & Moore's work cover the walls at Gallery Mar
I've known Shawna now for almost a year after having taken one of her amazing encaustic workshops at the Kimball Art Center here in Park City. I've long admired her work, her colors, and her ability to create translucency. We also happen to have a lot in common - architecture/environmental backgrounds, love of the outdoors, skiing and climbing, and so when we finally met, it was like we already knew each other. Shawna has been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement for me this winter. Not only has she taught me a lot about working with encaustic, but also about being an artist. Shawna will be teaching another encaustic workshop in May at the Spiro Arts Center here in Park City.

encaustic works by Shawna Moore
Shawna's latest series is the biggest and best I've seen yet. With the new space at Gallery Mar, she had the opportunity to expand in her sizes, brush strokes and color. For me, this series is a beautiful lazy afternoon spent under a tree gazing at the sky through the leaves, watching as birds, bees and airplanes fly past leaving contrails to mark their paths. Looking at a Shawna Moore piece is like looking at an ecosystem and discovering new life every place you look.

various works by Michael Kessler
As for Michael, I've seen his works for a number of years and marveled at their creation. His art is strongly rooted in nature and yet has this universal quality that appeals to so many people on different levels. Some wonderful combination of his colors, forms and designs creates a spellbinding tableau. This series of his seems largely inspired by tree trunks and branches and every time I look at them, I think of my own aspen grove set against the snow or a brilliant blue sky.

admirers of the works enjoy the party
Both Michael & Shawna went big for this show and produced a dizzying amount of work to fill the gallery, and fill it they did. The show was a huge success - not to mention super fun. If you missed the opening, be sure to stop by and see the works in Gallery Mar before they're all snatched up. And read more about the artists in this great article in the Park Record from last week.

honored to be showing in the same space as Kessler & Moore