In Shifting Terrain: Subtle Changes Open New Doors
Encaustics by Susan Feller and Assemblages by Janet Wheeler
Exhibit on View:
August 12 – September 12, 2015
The Kay Gallery
Creating spontaneous responses to the natural world around her, Susan Feller treasures the imperfect and relishes the unexpected in her abstract encaustic paintings. A personal upheaval has brought a new subtle and meditative serenity to her work. Focusing on nature’s endless cycle of renewal, Janet Wheeler combines nature’s detritus with machine-made objects in enigmatic assemblages. Her unexpected sanctuaries have shifted from freestanding containers to wall boxes.
Drawn to interpretations of the natural elements, Susan Feller’s luminous encaustic mixed media works are at once meditative and filled with emotion. In layered collage pieces, she allows herself to be led by the process of experimentation. Subtle effects and powerful designs emerge as Feller responds to unexpected changes by further surrendering control and continuing to delight in unplanned results. The majority of her recent works began through rusting, using water and vinegar with rusted metal objects, then layering inks, oil pastel and encaustic (wax) until she achieved a sense of unity and completion.
Nature dominates Janet Wheeler’s assemblages of both found and fabricated objects in nests and totems which conjure a sense of primitive sacrament and ritual. In the nest series, her intimate boxes serve as containers for ceremonial objects or ritual platforms using the metaphor of the birds’ nest to evoke a sense of the sacramental in nature’s endless cycle of renewal. Wheeler’s elongated totem forms, embellished with animal and plant images, combine the power of nature with that of a societal group or clan and suggest revered emblems from a long-vanished civilization.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Susan Feller: Montgomery County artist Susan Feller is a former fiber artist who now focuses on mixed media, digital collage, and encaustics. She earned her BA in Studio Art at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD, and a BS in Education from SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY with additional studies at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC and at Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring, MD. Feller is active in a number of artists’ organizations, including the International Encaustic Association, The Art League of Virginia, Women’s Caucus for Art/DC chapter, and the Maryland Federation of Art. Her award-winning work has been widely exhibited both locally and nationally, including Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC; Betty Mae Kramer Gallery, Silver Spring, MD; The Art League Gallery, Alexandria, VA; The Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, Frederick, MD; and Glenview Mansion, Rockville, MD. Feller maintains a studio in Silver Spring, MD.
Janet Wheeler: Montgomery County artist Janet Wheeler is a native of Dutchess County, NY who received her BA from Stanford University, Stanford, CA with additional studies in painting at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. After beginning her art career as a painter, Wheeler soon discovered the excitement and freedom of collage. She is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Visual Arts. Wheeler’s work has been widely exhibited both locally and nationally to include the American University Museum, Katzen Art Center, Washington, DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA; Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC; Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore, MD; Plum Gallery, Kensington, MD; Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; and Running Ridge Gallery, Santa Fe, NM. Her work is included in numerous private and corporate collections. Wheeler maintains a studio in Silver Spring, MD.
Images: Left: Janet Wheeler, “NEST 42,” assemblage, 7 x 9.5 x 2.25 inches: Center: Susan Feller, “Rusted Intentions 1,” encaustic, rust, and coffee on birch substrate, 8 x 8 inches. Right: Susan Feller, “Rusted Intentions 3,” encaustic, rust, and coffee on birch substrate, 8 x 8 inches.