TRANSFORMATIVE by Dona Mara from the “Living in the Mountains” series; acrylic, oil, cold wax on canvas, 36x48; 2018; $3500
On view at stART Space through July 20, 2019
“REFLECTIONS – The Intangible Things”, the first solo show since 2016 and the largest career concept show, created around a theme, by well-respected Southern Vermont artist Dona Mara. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 8 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. REFLECTIONS runs through July 20 at stART Space Art Gallery.
The more than 25 never-before-seen artworks to be exhibited at stART Space, ranging in size from 8” x 10” to 48” x 60”. These REFLECTIONS balance Mara’s joyful mirroring of nature’s vistas with a darker side that stems from an anxiety for the future of our planet; a love and respect for the earth contrasted with the horror that mankind could be ruining that same delicate balance.
Mara earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1967 AND continued on to complete art graduate courses at Indiana State University. Some of her intellectual inspiration has come from the works of a diverse set of artists including the American painters Richard Diebenkorn, Pat Steir and Kiki Smith, the German artist Gerard Richter, the Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, and the 19th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.
Further inspiration springs from Dona Mara’s changing, breathtaking surroundings; the natural wonders and beauty of Vermont. ALTHOUGH she came of age with abstract expressionism, early memories of her grandfather’s gardens, weaving on a large floor loom and the soft flow of paint on silk, remain as vivid introductions to art making. Today, her constant observation of nature, investigation into art processes and experimentation with multiple mediums grants her endless options for creative energy and direction.
“Recollections of those potent, magical and romantic, pastoral vistas often now tinged with the realization of contemporary ecological disasters, keep resonating in the present, directing my creative impulses,” says Mara. “I hang onto beauty, harmony and a sense of order in a climate of ecological chaos. From these remembrances, I draw and paint with feelings, not attempting to mimic any scene, but to offer a fresh point-of-view to the audience, allowing them to experience nature, and our universal environmental concerns, through my eyes.”
Mara is affected by places, experiences and the ground she walks on, believing those memories reside within everyone. “In ‘Cross Currents’ (48” x 60”, oil, acrylic, cold wax on canvas) I wanted these contrasts of beauty and destruction to come together as energy that can be seen,” says Mara. “In ‘Sacred Space’ (30” x 40”, acrylic, oil, cold wax on canvas) I wove the reflections of sunlight on water, with my memories of being near Monet’s pond in Giverny, France. Working with multiple layers of mixed media the illusion of water, intertwined with organic form at twilight, produced the resemblance I was after.”
Following decades of work gaining expertise across many different media from pencil to ink, from acrylic to oil, from encaustic to cold wax, all on different substrates, she has taken on an exploration of mixed media for this show. While still working in many layers, Mara incorporates various complementary mediums which can include acrylic as a base with overlays of oil, cold wax, ink and pigment sticks.
Dona Mara has PARTICIPATED in exhibitions at McCartee's Fine Art Gallery, Southern Vermont Art Center, Canfield Gallery, Vermont Studio Center, Fuller Craft Museum, Hilles Gallery, Castle Hill Gallery, University of New England, Saco Museum, Laffer Gallery Regional Artists, CCCA Gallery, Mill Brook Gallery, Saratoga Art Center, Pocketbook Factory, and Vermont Institute of Contemporary Art. As a full time professional devoted to the arts, she helps at the Dorset Playhouse, teaches at SVAC and is an active member of New England Wax. ”
2019 Reflections - The Intangible Things - stART Space Art Gallery, Manchester, VT
2016 A Sense of Place – McCartee's Fine Art Gallery, Salem, NY
2015 Southern Vermont Art Center, Gallery 6, Manchester, VT
2014 Canfield Gallery, Arlington, VT
2013 Rupert Kittay Library, Rupert, VT
2012 Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
2012 Dorset Theater Playhouse, Dorset VT
2008 Dorset Library, Dorset, VT
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 SHIFTS, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Ma.
2017 Summer Member's Exhibition, SVAC Manchester, VT.
2017 Chaos and Order, Hilles Gallery, C.A.W. New Haven, CT
2017 The Small Gallery, McCartee’s Fine Art, Salem, NY
2016 The Lake – Stone Valley Art Center, Poultney, VT
2016 Castle Hill Gallery, The Mark of the Brush, Truro, MA
2016 University of New England, Vision & Verse, Portland, MN
2016 Saco Museum, Beneath the Surface, Ogunquit, MN
2015 Gallery 7, New England Wax, Maynard, MA
2015 Laffer Gallery Regional Artists, Schuylerville, NY
2015 CCCA Gallery -Trees & Skies, Hudson, NY
2014 CCCA, Group Exhibition, Hudson, NY
2014 Mill Brook Gallery, North Country Studio Group, Concord, NH
2013 Saratoga Art Center, Group Show, Saratoga Springs, NY
2013 Pocketbook Factory, Member's Exhibition, Hudson, NY
2013 CCCA Gallery, Hudson, NY
2012 Studio Place Arts - Refuge / Flying High Barre, VT
2012 Vermont institute of Contemporary Art, Chester, VT
BFA in Studio Arts – Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY 1967
Masters Study - Studio Painting with Charles Reddington
Indiana State University 1979 - 80
Private study with London painter Michael Green, Molini di Triora, Italy – 1981
Workshop study with: Cynthia Winika at R&F paints, Kingston, NY
Daniella Woolf – Encaustic Variations, Bennington, VT
Kim Bernard - Encaustic Workshop at Kennebunkport Me.
Mono-Printing - North Country Studio Workshop, Bennington,VT
Lisa Pressman - Advanced Encaustic at R&F paints, Kingston, NY
Elizabeth Coyne -Painting as Metaphor- Salem Art Works, Salem NY.
2012 Workshop Scholarship for North Country Studio Workshops
2010 Vermont Studio Center VT, Artists Week Scholarship
2007 Honorable Mention at Juried Exhibition, Southern VT Art Center