The artwork in artist Kim Covell Maurer’s most recent exhibition, “Points of View,” has layers, and not just because it was created using multiple coatings of pigmented wax.
The exhibition, which will be on display through Nov. 4, features many encaustic pieces — a wax-based method of painting — that appear as orchids at first glance, with paper maps layered beneath, Covell Maurer said. With a closer look, she said visitors might see yet another layer within her art, inspired by her concern for the recent ban on most abortions in Texas: depictions of the female uterus.
“I think it’s been really hard for artists to make art in the past year and a half, because so many important things are going on, like, what are you going to say?” Covell Maurer said. “I was kind of making art, just sort of, like as a calming effect on me. But when these things started happening that I really care about, I didn’t know what else to do to put it into my work.”
She said the exhibition’s title, “Points of View,” was originally based on her work with abstracted landscape views, but evolved as she began to incorporate her feelings about current events.
“It really kind of started slipping into ‘points of view’ in terms of these sort of more hidden images of what’s been going on around us,” Covell Maurer said.
“Points of View” is on display at Studios on High Gallery, an artist-owned and operated collective that features local artists, Deb Johnson, co-manager of the gallery, said. Its mission is to provide Central Ohio artists like Covell Maurer with opportunities to display art in the Short North, as well as providing art education to the community, Beth Himsworth, co-manager of the gallery, said.
Himsworth said she considers Covell Maurer’s art to be unique in several different ways such as her palette choice and the way she uses her artwork to put other things into perspective.
“Encaustic is a really kind of rare form of painting because it uses such different materials by dyeing the wax,” Himsworth said. “So, she partly is kind of different because of that, but also because she has a really beautiful muted palette, a lot of blues and pinks and reds.”
The orchids play different roles in each piece, from surrounding and protecting the uteruses to supporting them, Covell Maurer said. She said she chose orchids as the focus of her art because of their strength.
“It comes back to thinking of the orchids as these symbols of things that are supposed to be delicate and difficult, that are actually really strong and persevere,” Covell Maurer said. “They grow in every climate of the world, except for the Antarctic, and so I’m kind of using the orchid, which is also supposed to be very feminine, as more of this strong presence in the work.”
Covell Maurer said she hopes viewers look beyond the beauty and sense that there’s something deeper going on within her paintings, especially when observing the India ink linework she incorporated.
“The color combinations that I use are beautiful, but I also want the viewer to sense that there’s something else going on, that it’s not just a beautiful object that they’re standing in front of,” Covell Maurer said. “I think that there’s a little bit of a disturbance in that linework, like it doesn’t feel totally calm all the time, it feels like there’s a little bit of a struggle going on.”
Himsworth said it’s important for the gallery to present unique art exhibitions like “Points of View” that are free to view and accessible to all.
“I think that art, just like nature, is a part of what it means to be human,” Himsworth said. “It really calls to us and it helps us to feel like we fit into the world around us.”
“Points of View” will be on display through Nov. 4 at Studios on High Gallery, located at 686 N. High St. Admission to the gallery is free. More information can be found on the exhibition’s webpage .