Kate Black, Fused Glass, and Larain Matheson, Encaustic Paintings

Kate Black and Larain Matheson

Dolphin Gallery Exhibit

Opening Reception Saturday, May 7, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Exhibit remains through May 29

Dolphin Gallery


The May 2016 exhibit at the Dolphin Gallery features Kate Black and Larain Matheson. The opening night reception is on Saturday, May 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. and the show runs through Sunday, May 29.

Kate Black

Well known in Sonoma County, fused glass artist Kate Black displays post-modern pieces with striking welded frames. The frames are not usually associated with this medium. She will be in her first two-person show at the Dolphin Gallery. Her bold expressionistic pieces are suggestive of Miro and often contain a hint of Oriental influences.

Black Untitled 2

A glass artist for much of her life, Black first learned her craft at SF State University, at Bennington College in Vermont and in NYC.   She had to set aside her creative energies while she attended medical school and later raised a son. When a friend told her about a new process for working glass, she discovered that she could work in cold glass fired in a kiln at her home. She then could practice medicine by day and produce her pieces at night.

In addition to her glass work Black paints in acrylics. “About five years ago I started working in a larger space that allowed me to alternate between painting and glass work. Sometimes I have two pieces in the kiln and four or five canvases going at the same time.” She especially enjoys working on collaborative commissions with architects and interior designers.

Black Untitled 3

Working out of her Santa Rosa studio, Black says, “My art is very cathartic. I never plan a piece or a painting beforehand. It’s a very rapid, collage process that just jumps out of me. Each one takes on a shape of its own as I go along.”   She also draws inspiration from music, especially jazz. “I want people to experience the rhythm in my art work.”

Black comes by the unusual vocations of doctor and artist quite naturally. Her mother was an art historian who advised her that artists make no money and her father a pathologist who warned her about the bureaucracy of medicine.   She heeded the admonitions of both parents. Each passion provides an anecdote for the drawback of the other.

Her work can be seen any time at Backstreet Gallery in Santa Rosa SOFA district. She has a virtual gallery and contact information on-line at her website, www.blackfusionglass.com. She also has a Squarespace online gallery of her 3D glass art.

Black Untitled 1


Larain Matheson

In her second two-person show at the Dolphin Gallery, Larain Matheson continues to develop the artistic use of encaustic wax and oils she began using over eight years ago. This exhibit displays her most recent pieces in a medium that dates back over two thousand years to ancient Greece and Egypt.

Matheson Elegy

Also known as hot wax painting, encaustic art uses heated bee’s wax to which various pigments are added. Matheson fuses each layer of wax and oil with heat, to create the beautiful transparencies that encaustic art produces. Sometimes she uses 15 or more layers of wax fused to one another. She is captivated by the way the paint moves when heat is applied to each layer and by the patterns and images that emerge.

First used on mummy portraits, encaustic art has seen a revival since the 1990s. The process is difficult to master, but modern heating tools extend the time an artist can work the paint before fusing it in layers. Matheson feels the effort reveals new space and depth as well as colors and transparencies that provide surprising results.

Her recent work reflects her love of and inspiration from nature. It spans from abstract forms she sees in the universe to realistic images. She strives to connect with the energy of the four elements – earth, air fire and water – that the classical world saw as the basic components of creation. She says. “My new paintings show energy and stillness, boldness and subtlety manifesting through color and form.”

Matheson Reunion

Matheson has been an artist for over thirty-five years. She studied with Richard Diebenkorn and Lynn Foulkes while working on her Masters of Fine Art at U.C.L.A. and has taught art at Riverside City College, Santa Ana Junior College, and Marin Junior College. She offers Encaustic Workshops twice a year at her Gualala studio and is a member of the Encaustic Art Institute (EIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Her work has been on display at numerous venues including the Dolphin Gallery, Mendocino Art Center, Sebastopol Art Center, Berkeley Art Center and Cirrus Gallery in Marin. She participates in the annual Studio Discovery Tour. Her work has been published in the EIA catalogue in Santa Fe and in Art Takes Miami in 2012.

Examples of the range of her work in a variety of media and styles can be found on her website, www.larainmathesonart.com. She has worked with oils, acrylics and pastels. She has even directed and produced a documentary film on the Huichol Indians from Mexico that received awards at the San Antonio and Mill Valley film festivals.

Matheson Torso in Color