“In my work I explore memories, time and place using hand cut templates that represent houses, farm buildings or warehouses. I see personalities and faces in buildings that I take photos of or record in my sketchbooks. By layering the buildings or using the shape individually I am able to conjure a feeling of place. You and I may not see the same place in the piece but it brings about a recognition, often a naming of where the scene is located.
I work in oils and encaustic mixed media. My process explores the painting surface as I expose or mask particular layers or blocks of color. I look to the history of art to inform my color schemes, specifically the Dutch Baroque period. I love the richness and saturation found in works from that era. I use a loose grid to create a flat yet atmospheric space. After building up many layers I begin to add the buildings and memories of specific “places” begin to surface for me. As I scrape and add or subtract, each layer of cold wax and oil is fused using a low temp heat gun. In the final stages of the pieces I burnish the surface to create a soft luster where the wax is the thickest. Texture, atmosphere and mood are strong in each painting.”
Mara is a UW Milwaukee graduate with a BFA in Painting and Drawing; teaching certificate as an Art Educated from UW-Green Bay, and a Master of Arts in Education from Lesley University. Some of her early influences as an artist included instruction and vision from Leslie Vansen, Adolph Rosenblatt, Tom Uttecht, Bill Williams and Laurence Rathsack.
Mara’s current studio is at home with a view of Lake Michigan, her muse. In 2016 she retired from a 24 year career teaching art at Ashwaubenon High School. Mara has a long history as a painter. Her early memories include an expressive figurative painting class in 7th grade. When living in Milwaukee, Mara and artist friends ran a pop up gallery called Verge. They caught the attention of local media. Exhibits at Verge were exciting happenings that included art work, dance, music and poetry readings. MAra spent three years in Brooklyn, NY, living in DUMBO. Mara continued painting and showing in small galleries as a part of the alternative arts scene in the late 1980s.
Following the birth of her twin sons she and her family moved back to Wisconsin, making a home in Green Bay. Here they raised their boys and pursued careers in education. During this time Mara kept painting and made connections in the local art community. As her children went off to college and her teaching career came to a close she chose to pursue her art at a professional level. With recent accelerated exhibition participations, awards, and gallery representation, she is excited to share her work through so many wonderful opportunities.
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