Rupert artist's work is basis of stART Space's first solo show

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MANCHESTER — The stART Space art gallery is presenting its first solo show this month, featuring never-before seen works by Rupert artist Dona Mara.

The show, titled "Reflections — The Intangible Things," is Mara's first solo show since 2016 and her largest career concept show.

An opening reception will be held next Saturday, June 8 from 5-7 p.m. at stART Space's gallery on Depot Street, in the Manchester Shopping Center. The exhibit runs through July 20.

The more than 25 never-before-seen artworks, ranging in size, 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 completed graduate art 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.

While Mara 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.

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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," Mara said in a news release provided by the gallery. "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."

Following decades of work across many different media from pencil to ink, from acrylic to oil, from encaustic to cold wax, all on different substrates, Mara 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.

Her previous exhibitions include showings 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.

StART Space represents more than 20 artists with works spanning painting, photography, fashion, mixed-media, video, collage and sculpture that are also featured in the exhibition.

The gallery's hours and more information may be found online at www.startspace.art or www.Facebook.com/startspaces. Contact stART Space by email at gallery@startspace.art or by calling 802-768-8498.


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