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“What We Carry: Balance” by Helene Farrar. Courtesy photo.




See “Balancing Acts”

Where: Twiggs Gallery, 254 King St., Boscawen, 975-0015
When: On view July 30 through Sept. 4; reception Thurs., Aug. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m.




Finding balance
Twiggs features “Balancing Acts,” made from wax

07/28/16
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



 Helene Farrar’s textural “What We Carry: Balance” depicts a person carrying an impossibly large, colorful storm of baggage made of wax. Another, “Work Day,” shows a tiny figure standing over an enormous rainbow of tasks — also made of wax.

They were the pieces that inspired curator and artist Debra Claffey into putting together the latest show at Twiggs Gallery, “Balancing Acts,” on view July 30 through Sept. 4. There’s a reception Thursday, Aug. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“I was thinking about how difficult it is for us as artists to juggle so many roles these days. We have to be entrepreneurs, we have to be computer savvy, we have to be photographers, we have to be marketers, and we have to carry our work all over the place. Most artists have to work full time, and they’re also parents and married,” said Claffey, a New Boston artist, via phone.
The exhibition’s made up of art by seven regional artists — Claffey, Farrar, Jeanne Borofsky, Pamela Crabb, Kimberly Curry, Angel Dean and Soosen Dunholter — whose work in wax explores themes of precarious balance. Dunholter and Claffey are from New Hampshire, while the rest live in neighboring New England states.
Claffey said she likes the medium because of its versatility. Most of the represented artists were painters or sculptors before they took up encaustic, a wax-based paint composed of beeswax, resin and pigment that is kept molten on a heated palette before painted or sculpted. It means there’s less waiting, more creating.
“Unlike with oil paint, you don’t have to wait for it to dry before you work on the next layer. You put it on melted, and as soon as it’s cool, it’s hard enough to keep going,” Claffey said. “I also like that it’s from natural materials from the earth.”
With wax, you can also write or carve on it, imbed items in it, polish it or make it translucent. Dunholter said she likes the depth and luster of the medium, and the surprises that come from working with it.
“There’s the clean line that you intentionally mark, and there are the unpredictable imperfections of the wax paper that appear,” Dunholter said. “And I love texture. I’m always all about texture.”
For “Balancing Acts,” Claffey chose pieces that represent all you can do with the medium. Hers contained her grandmother’s crocheted doilies imbedded inside the wax with leaf prints on top. 
Dean’s pieces are like colorful wax assemblages with found objects like keys, bottle caps, scrap metal, wire, locks, washers, even a Parcheesi board. Curry’s artwork contains wallpaper from old Maine farmhouses, and some of Crabb’s are encaustic sculptures that look like stacked ocean rocks, balanced on top of one another.
Borofsky’s artwork looks like it requires balance just to hold it all together; they’re rainbow origami wax houses, stacked whimsically on top of one another in rows and columns, set against bright, swirling patterns.
All the artists interpreted the theme differently as well; Dunholter of Peterborough said three of her pieces deal with balance, while others act as a response to learning about her autoimmune disease. Getting back into artwork has helped her work through it and find balance again in her daily life.
“I always feel so much better when I’m in the studio creating something,” Dunholter said. 





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