It's been a whirlwind three years for Lara Plecas. The Phoenix artist has created and showcased a number of works throughout Phoenix, but this month, she'll close a chapter as a member of the Downtown collective gallery eye lounge.
"Being a member of eye lounge has nurtured several relationships within the arts community and provided a platform for me to really explore my work," she says. "I know that eye lounge will continue to be the corner stone within the community, and to nurture the artists that are a part of eye lounge ... Being a member provides you with a unique opportunity to push yourself as an artist, and to present your work with complete freedom."
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The Downtown gallery has three-year terms for emerging artist members. This year, a handful will host their last shows (Sarah Hurwitz's last show at eye lounge is next month) and move on to show their work in other galleries and museums throughout Phoenix. Plecas says the collective offers a unique experience to local artists.
"I feel that I have grown a lot as an artist over the last three years as a member, and overall I feel that I am able to truly develop a story with my body of work ... You will never really have that in the real world when dealing with galleries or museums."
For "A Fond Farewell" Plecas has been gathering materials and creating encaustic pieces since August. The farewell, she says, is to loved ones. The overlapping timing on her farewell to the gallery is a coincidence.
Plecas' exhibition includes a large nest made from branches she gathered in Tempe. On the walls are encaustic paintings of family photographs and memorabilia as well as a series of birds in mid-flight shown next to burning landscapes.
"I was planning to work on a whole series of wildfire landscapes based on the all of the fires we were experiencing during the summer," she says. "I was also casting faces all summer for my exhibit last October. My work started to take on a voice of it's own and reflect what I was experiencing at the time ... I hope that viewers can relate, and connect with the feelings being conveyed in my work."
"A Fond Farewell" is up at eye lounge tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. and during regular hours through February 10.