Yesterday, the A.I.R program was invited to the home of Nancy Azara, a member of Byrdcliffe director’s board, and Darla Bjork, her partner. Both are practicing artists and divide their time between the city and Woodstock. Removed from the bustle of town, their home is nestled upon a quiet, shaded hillside that looks upon Guardian and Overlook Mountain. Residents relaxed and cooled off with cups of mint tea, fruit salad, and blueberries mixed with yogurt and were joined by several other Byrdcliffe members including director Matthew Leaycraft, operations manager Nathalie Andrews, board members Kerrie Buitrago, Karen Peters as well as shop, gallery and event assistant Aaron Lockhart.
Nancy’s work relies on a variety of mixed media including mylar, color pencil, halved tree trunks, self-made tempura paints and pigments, gold leaf, and carved block prints. An evocative use of hand, gesture, and color, her works fluctuate from resolved to suggested forms. Flurries of created marks suddenly make bare the contours of a leaf, feather, or other hidden symbol.
Darla’s work shares a similar layering process of obscuring previous strokes. Utilizing dark or light impasto streaks to hide thinly veiled strokes, the works meld paint and encaustic on top of assembled wooden panels. An undercurrent of geometry- either horiztonal or vertical lines- is negated by wiped, or smeared marks.