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Stopping to Consider 

by Jennifer LaRue & r & Pause for a moment, and time stands still. Seriously, at the end of this sentence, close your eyes, dismiss all thoughts and imagine something beautiful for one minute.

Welcome back.

"Pause" is the title of the next collection of artwork to be shown at the Lorinda Knight Gallery. Artist Wendy Franklund Miller thought up the concept. "It's a simple but meaningful metaphor for introspection," Miller says.

The show includes Miller's encaustic paintings and Lisa Nappa's ceramic sculptures. Both mediums are ancient and involved, and both artists' work is as rich as their histories.

"Encaustic" means to burn in, and the medium is wax. Greeks used wax to weatherproof their ships, and the addition of pigmentation allowed for the decorating of the warships, communicating to the enemy while showing their fanciful side in times of war.

The medium went on to decorate mummy wrappings in the form of burial portraits applied to linen or thin flexible wood bound over the head area, communicating yet another idea of what lies within the unknown.

Miller applies layer upon layer of wax onto solid, hollow, or shadow box shapes. A palette of melted wax lays in wait ... dip brush, apply a layer ... light torch and burn the layer to bond it to the one underneath ... change color, reapply, scrape, and forms emerge.

The wall-mounted pieces are abstract with references to the human presence and domestic objects. The colors are earthy and the shapes that emerge from the wax are akin to cave drawings with representative shapes that tell stories with more than one meaning.

Nappa works in another primeval medium, clay or earthenware. Ancient people mixed mud, sand, water, debris and even dung into their creations, functional or otherwise.

Nappa's medium is a little more progressive but still contains a depth of urgency. Like Miller, she applies many layers and the profundity can be seen in the final product.

Her three-dimensional pieces are forms based on children's toys as well as the structures of nature. She begins with a lump of clay ... strokes, hollows, pinches, cuts ... random yet organized, like nature. Colored slips of liquid clay and low-fired glazes complete the pieces.

Instead of a napkin holder as a centerpiece, Nappa's piece titled "Cherry Blossom" could make regular dinner conversation seem like monkey chatter. A child might wonder how an object could be bumpy and smooth all at the same time.

Both artists agree that our society doesn't appreciate art as other cultures do. I exposed my son to art at a very young age, and the benefits showed early on. As I advised him, stop for a moment before taking action and connect yourself to the world. Search deeper and question the grand scheme of things. The spoken word rarely reaches the true depth of meaning, so learn to hear in other ways.

Visit an art gallery. Art has a way of raising our ability to recognize the commonality of human experience.

Pause for a moment and step out of the daily grind.

Come as you are and enter the stunning display at the Lorinda Knight Gallery. You might learn something about yourself through your own reactions. Just imagine what lines of communication might be opened with whomever stands at your side.

Through her gallery, Lorinda Knight hopes to share a thought-filled environment with others, opening minds in the process. In addition to the main gallery, more than 50 artists display their work on the second floor.

"Pause" is sure to inspire.

"Pause" runs at the Lorinda Knight Gallery, 523 W. Sprague, from Dec 2-31, with a reception on Friday, Dec 2, from 6-8 pm. Visit or call 838-3740.

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