Painting and sculpture exhibit to take ‘Flight’ at Gallery MAR |

Painting and sculpture exhibit to take ‘Flight’ at Gallery MAR

Jamie Burnes’ “Leda” shows the scluptors affinity with wood and steel. The piece will be part of the “Flight” exhibit that will open at Gallery MAR on Friday.
Photo courtesy of Gallery MAR

“Flight” exhibit opening 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 28 Gallery MAR, 436 Main St. Free

Rebecca Kinkead and Jamie Barnes are ready to launch their joint exhibit, “Flight,” at Gallery MAR this Friday.

Kinkead’s oil paintings and waxes and Burnes’ metal, wood and stone sculptures search for a natural connection with their subjects that include wildlife and the outdoors.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public will open at 6 p.m. on Dec. 28.

Kinkead’s freedom

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Rebecca Kinkead sees her depictions of black bears, horses, owls, ducks, eagles, wolves and polar bears as embodiments of freedom.

“I find profound inspiration in nature and wildlife, and the paintings fit with some of the big changes that have occurred in my life over the past year,” Kinkead said. “I’m living on my own for the first time. I also built my own studio, so now I have room around me now where I can move, think and be with my art.”

Some of the images were inspired by the period Kinkead spent in Wyoming as an artist in residency, sponsored by the Jentel Foundation.

“This past year I had the opportunity to watch the wild wolves in Yellowstone,” she said. “There would also be many mornings when I would open my curtains and come face to face with dozens of deer right there. I could not get enough of them. They were so entertaining to watch.”

The artist was especially intrigued by the animals’ diverse anatomies and instincts, shaped by natural selection.

“Everything about the animals’ designs is about survival,” Kinkead said. “It’s about the way they move, and the way they even just stand there, especially the deer, with their big ears. They have to be aware of what’s going on around them.”

The animals’ nuances translate to human emotion when Kinkead captures the forms on her canvas.

“I try to go for more of the physicality and energy of whatever it is that I paint,” she said. “I want to have the sense that they are present with me in the room.”

The challenge of containing that physicality in a singular moment continues throughout the painting process.

“I have to get into a head space that is almost dreamlike,” she said. “While I’m there, I have to trust that my hand will know how to put the marks on the page that shows how a wing might flap, and how it leaves a trace of where the wing has been and where it’s going.”

Sometimes the method doesn’t work, and sometimes things fall into place though an intuitive response.

“I get to a place where I find even more how the animals’ colors, feathers, fur become very captivating,” she said. “After I saw the wolves at Yellowstone, I began to feel I could paint them in a way where I had more connection with them. My imagination goes into what it would be like to be that animal.”

That perspective has appealed to her clients, the likes of which include Oprah Winfrey, as well.

“It’s so satisfying to work and then have people respond to it,” Kinkead said. “I’m incredibly fortunate to have collectors that allow me to paint full time. Because of that, I get to have more time in the studio and develop as an artist.”

Burnes’ evolution

Burnes’ sculptures are a visual and tangible blend of the organic and static — wood, rock and steel.

“The steel I use is called corten steel, which ages and rusts, but it doesn’t deteriorate like mild steel,” Burnes said. “It seals itself as it oxidizes. So the natural patina of the burgandies and the reds from the rust complement the boulders and tree trunks that are wrapped with the metal.”

The sculptor usually starts his art with a piece of wood or rock, and molds the steel around them.

“When I look at the grain of (the) wood, I can see the muscle structure of a horse’s neck and things go from there,” he said.

Lately, Burnes has been working with aged cedar.

“Twenty years ago I worked with my friend who is an arborist,” he said. “We cut down some cedars and I buried them near my studio back east.”

Some of the cedars were buried in a swamp, which rotted the growthwood away from the hardwood.

“I got a little impatient and started pulling up some of this wood three years ago and found all of this cool texture,” Burnes said. “With the bigger pieces, I chiseled off the remaining growth wood and that’s why you have the chisel and hammer marks on them.”

In addition to the cedar, Burnes has piles of tree trunks, petrified wood and stones at his studio in Santa Fe, N.M.

“I spend time with these objects,” he said. “I put them together and mess with them until they tell me what they want to become.”

He then draws out some designs, and wraps and hangs the objects from a gantry.

“By that point, I have the object pretty mapped up to what I would like it to look like,” Burnes said.

The works range from depicting abstract rings to horses and other animals.

“I take a minimalist approach to the lines on the horses,” Burnes said. “I try to get proportionately close, but, of course these works are abstract.”

Burnes’ creative process includes keeping an eye out for the details he finds during the destruction inherent to sculpting.“I try to grab things through the hammering and chiseling,” he said.

The sculptor knows there is always a danger of overworking a piece.

“You can do too much with the tweaking and chipping,” Burnes said. “On the other hand, there’s a feeling I get about not going to too far and adding too many busy details. And that’s when it just feels like it’s done.”

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