SARA CRISP Congress Street Gallery
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This marks Sara Crisp's eighth year at June Fitzpatrick Gallery. She has had solo exhibits in Maine, New York, Chicago and Virginia, together with numerous fellowships and residencies both in the United States and in France and India.
My paintings are inspired by the natural and human world and by the unseen world of the spirit. They also celebrate this place, Maine, where I have lived and worked for 25 years.
I begin by collecting: seed pods, leaves from the woods, insects, petals from the garden, bleached bones found by the sea, shells, tiny bird skulls. All of this finds its way into my hands, my studio and eventually, some of it, into my paintings.
I call my pieces paintings because they hang on the wall and a brush does touch surface at some point but really they are microcosms of our macro world, selected views from underfoot or overhead which are relatively flat yet contain three-dimensional objects.
I work in encaustic, an ancient method of painting using wax and pigment fused with heat, because this process allows me to make many thin, translucent layers as well as embed natural objects. Each layer adds a seen or unseen dimension of existence. The first layer can be language or symbol, followed by a pattern reminiscent of a map or the cosmos.
Subsequent layers reference patterns in nature, geologic or environmental, or in the human made world of history and grid, words and symbol. As I layer up, I also carve down into the wood substrate. My inscriptions/marks are both precise and imperfect; they swing between a striving for surety and order and the real messiness of living life, stillness and movement. I chose these elements as I chose all aspects of my paintings--for their meanings and their beauty.