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Allyson Levy
Untitled Ash 1 (Abstract Mixed Media Painting on Panel in a Neutral Palette)

2017

$2,800

About

Abstract encaustic painting with dark brown and beige ash keys against a light orange, peach background 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches This modern abstract encaustic painting by Allyson Levy is made with assorted beige and light brown ash keys encased in a layer of encaustic wax. The artist begins by finding the organic material in her 4-acre garden in upstate New York which she then arranges and embeds with encaustic on a wooden panel. The numerous ash keys are laid in a linear, organic design on the panel and layered with a thick coat of wax. The encaustic wraps around to the sides of the panel, revealing some bumps and downward drips, accumulated during the natural drying process. The various sized ash keys create a slightly textured surface on top of the wooden panel. The piece weighs about 10 pounds and is hung on one d-ring. About the artist and her work: After moving to the rural town of Stone Ridge, NY seventeen years ago and starting a 4-acre botantical garden with her husband, mixed media artist, Allyson Levy, has found endless inspiration in the plant kingdom that surrounds her. The garden itself, named “Hortus Conclusus”, consisting of thousands of rare plants and edibles, remains at the epicenter of Levy’s art making. A fascination with earth’s bounty is expressed with her works in encaustic. Assorted organic material such as leaves, seeds, branches, insect wings, and flowers are decoratively arranged in a layer of beeswax, encaustic and pigment. Some panels have richly pigmented backgrounds; specks of gold found in poppy pods reflect off of a mat black base and plum purple contrasts the natural coloration of birch bark. Following her original inspiration based on a 15th century practice of preserving seeds in wax during extended sea voyages, Levy’s intentions are to capture and reflect on a specific moment in the material’s life span. Adding, “from sprout to decay, the viewer is visually confronted with the profoundly beautiful, devastating and inevitable cycle.” Allyson Levy has exhibited with the gallery and regionally since 2000. Artist Statement: I have been creating paintings that combine Encaustic with Ash tree seeds for over 15 years. Besides being an attractive creative material to work with, seeds, when encased in wax, may serve as a type of seed-bank repository because the wax preserves them from damage. During colonial times, this technique was used by botanists to send seeds from America to Europe in lieu of shipping live trees since the transit time could take many months. This technique of preserving tree seeds in wax was one of the ways plants could be started in other countries. Once the wax was removed from the seeds, the seeds could be planted. This is now a familiar pattern, indicative of the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) plaguing our native ash trees. Referred to as ‘Blonding’, these markings on the tree bark are the tell-tale sign that the insect is killing the tree. Native to China, the EAB beetle was accidentally brought into the US in 1990 by way of wood packing material used for importing of goods. First sited in southeastern Michigan in 2002, the EAB beetle is now present in 31 states as well as Quebec and Ontario, Canada. There is currently no cure for this pest, only control measures. All 16 species of American Ash trees are affected. The beetles lay their eggs between layers of the bark and in bark crevices. The larvae hatch in about one week and bore further into the tree where they feed on the inner bark and pholem, the vascular system that delivers water and nutrients from root to branch of the tree. The insects create characteristic serpentine galleries that cut off the vascular system, ultimately starving the tree. The external visual effect of this damage is caused by Woodpeckers stripping off the outer bark of the tree in search of the beetle and its larvae embedded in the wood. If there are large numbers of larvae under the bark, woodpeckers can strip away large strips of bark. The Emerald Ash Borer has killed hundreds of millions of Ash trees in North America already and threatens to kill most of the 8.7 billion ash trees left in North America. Allyson Levy - ISA certified arborist Co-owner/director of Hortus Conclusus

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