Thursday, December 1, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Tausha Sylver and Joan MacKenzie at Art on Main in Bristol

Art on Main announces its holiday season Featured Artist Exhibit Festive & Fanciful. The exhibit features embossed velvet by Tausha Sylver, of Fairfax, and paintings by Joan MacKenzie, of Essex Junction. The community is invited to meet the artists at a celebratory reception on Friday December 9 from 5-7pm in the Gallery at 25 Main Street, Bristol. Both artists will be on hand and light refreshments, mostly chocolate, in keeping with the Bristol Downtown Chocolate Walk, will be served. The Gallery will be open until 8pm following the reception.

Self-taught artist Joan MacKenzie loves animals and bold colors—the combination prompted her to learn to paint. Since the first time she was surprised by a pika in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, she has been fascinated by them. While her husband and friend couldn’t wait to rock-climb on their trips west, Joan says, “I looked forward to patiently pika watching.” In painting pikas, Joan has had to exaggerate the colors in their natural habitat to satisfy her own color passion—greys, browns, greens become reds, purples, and turquoises. The world of Joan’s pikas, and their friends, is partly real and partly a product of her colorful imagination.

Over the years, Joan has spent many happy hours photographing pikas in their mountain homes, moose in the woods near her home, zebras and giraffes at the zoo, and horses in the Italian mountains. Back at home, she captures their personalities in acrylic paints. Bright colors are used in unusual ways to jazz up the animals or to enhance their habitats.

Native Vermonter Tausha Sylver is also self-taught in her craft, saying “once I had been exposed to embossed velvet, I couldn’t help but try it myself, and now I can’t stop!” She started working with velvet about ten years ago and has been constantly developing her technique and designs ever since, including designing some of her own stamps which are then crafted by a friend. The luxurious look, texture and feel of velvet is hard to resist, and the contrast of the embossed designs catching the light makes these pieces particularly magical. “It’s so luxurious, it’s just impossible to not want to feel it once you see it!” Tausha offers. “In fact, the number one initial comment I hear when people stop by my booth at a show is ‘I just want to touch them all!’ And of course, I tell them to go right ahead.”

The embossing is achieved by using heat and rubber or polymer stamps, and also, Tausha relates, “a lot of patience (and trial and error!).”

The exhibit will be on view in the Gallery through Friday December 31st. Art on Main is open Monday through Saturday 10am-6pm, Thursdays and Fridays in December -8pm, and Sundays 11am-3pm. Art on Main is a non-profit, artist-cooperative gallery with over 115 member artists from throughout Vermont; celebrating ten years this holiday season!