It was similar to a progressive book. But instead of adding chapters, these two creatives were alternating layers of meaning on birchwood panels using paint and mixed media. A year and a half ago, local artists Amy Kollar Anderson and Kate Santucci embarked upon a collaborative adventure together.
“The idea came from Amy, who is fearless,” Santucci said. They met at a party at the Dayton Visual Arts Center, and “were chatting about submission proposals. She suggested we collaborate on a show and submit the proposal, and it grew from there.”
Each started with 20 birchwood panels, trading them back and forth until they were both satisfied with the result. Santucci worked with oil-based mediums, focusing on encaustic, pigment and bone to create lush, natural-toned imagery. Anderson preferred acrylic-based materials such as pouring medium, mica and glitter, resulting in slick and outlandish imagery. This resulted in “Stratem,” a series of 40 works on panel presented at the Dayton Visual Arts Center over the next month.
“A new, original collaboration, Stratum is at once a stunning deconstruction of the (debris) of the layers of our natural world and, as each panel is displayed with a record of its process, is a seldom-seen peek into the creative process,” said DVAC Executive Director Eva Buttacavoli.
When you work with another person on a project, that person is bound to have an influence on your own process.
“I have found that I’m approaching color differently these days, which is definitely an influence of Amy’s bold use of color in her work,” said Santucci, who lives in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Dayton with her husband, Patrick, and twin sons Max and Leo. “The process of collaboration and altering another artist’s work has made me less cautious about experimentation, and made me feel less precious about my own work.”
The two had actually met earlier when they worked on Third Street murals downtown. And Anderson had talked with Santucci when she saw her exhibit at the Yellow Cab Tavern.
“I fell in love with some of her smaller encaustic works at that show. But I believe it was at one of the DVAC Members exhibits that I really knew I wanted to get to know her better,” Anderson said. “This was the second time her work drew me in like a magnet from the other side of the room. Her attention to detail and her textures are just so captivating!”
For Anderson’s part, her collaboration with Santucci on this show has “opened (her) eyes to new textures and effects.”
Often, artists don’t have favorites, as it’s much like having a favorite child, but Panel 22 with its yellow “eyes” and veins stands out — as does Panel 12, with a snake-like element piercing the outer rim of a small mixed-media dish.
“With Panel 22, the colors are what I am normally drawn to, with the vibrant teals and pops of chartreuse,” said Anderson. “Then Panel 12 has such a different feel, but I really love how Kate pierced the panel with the wood and how my little metal studs brought the piece together. It has this rich earthiness that I am really drawn to.”
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