Dharma Strasser MacColl
Traywick Contemporary is pleased to announce Adaptations, an exhibition of new works on paper by Bay Area artist Dharma Strasser MacColl. This will be the artist's third solo show with Traywick Contemporary.
MacColl explores dichotomies in her work: the sculptural and the two dimensional, negative and positive space, the constructed and the organic, and macro and micro perspectives. The artist plays with imagery based in the natural world by gathering and twisting forms together: strands are intertwined and emanating from the center of the page, floral and abstract elements spin in to one another, rings and lines collect and dissipate. Her labor-intensive practices transform thoughtful materials, including hand formed and fired ceramics, lace-like paper cutouts, dyed leathers and felts, and handmade Nepalese papers.
With the Adaptations series, MacColl focuses on the plant life and vegetation found during daily walks in the neighborhood around her studio. Many of these plants became the basis for hybrid forms that morph from naturally occurring shapes into abstract patterns, and also serve as a record of the state of the environment at this time and place. The persistent existence of nature in contrast to the dry California landscape conditions is relayed in the fecundity and overblown flowering of some of her hybrid plants.
The Hana series, an intimate group of black gouache paintings on paper, introduces a new textural element of leather in addition to the black clay elements for which she is known. The leather becomes malleable and mysterious in her pieces and serves as a counterpoint to the "harder" ceramic objects. The intuitive drawing approach of the Hana pieces is also evident throughout the entire Adaptations series. MacColl's interest in the Zen Buddhist "Enso"—a circle drawn in one fluid motion commonly found in Japanese calligraphy and also used as a type of daily meditation—becomes a formal element in much of the new work, symbolizing not only a radiating circle of life but also the importance of imperfection within each unique form.
Dharma Strasser MacColl has exhibited her work extensively throughout the Bay Area and across the country since receiving her MFA degree from Cranbrook Academy in 1997. Her work is in noted private and public collections including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco as well as Fidelity Investments and Chevron Corporation.