Aunt Dofe’s Gallery
Charles M. Bair Family Gallery & Northwest Projects Gallery
May 18 – July 16, 2023
Passage is an exhibition exploring the mystery of nature through the transformation of materials, texture, and form. Christine Joy and Sara Mast, who exhibited together in 2022 at Aunt Dofe’s gallery in Willow Creek, Montana, have incorporated new works for this special exhibition at the YAM. Mast and Joy’s artistic practices are rooted in familial histories, leading them to processes of gathering and excavating — resulting in a reliance on materials as significant conceptual elements in their work.
The large, twisted willow forms by Christine Joy are the result of a rhythmic process beginning with the hunt and harvest of willow in autumn — followed by sorting, bunding, and storing. Joy’s love of process was discovered along-side her mother in the 1970’s. After taking a rug braiding class, Joy and her mother spent many mornings hunting in thrift stores for wool garments, which then led to preparation for washing, cutting, and finally braiding. Overtime, Joy moved on from rug braiding, leading her to a period of experimentation, and ultimately to reclaiming and reorienting her love of gathering and process with willow, grounding her to the earth.
Sara Mast, a descendant of miners from Cornwall, England, resides on the site of Storrs, Montana, an early Anaconda Company mining town. Today, she reclaims her relationship with the earth by incorporating PEM (plasma enhanced melter) glass, a byproduct of plasma gasification, an advanced waste management technology that turns any kind of trash into inert, non-toxic glass and clean fuels. The result is obsidian-looking rock forms. PEM can be crushed and sorted into various sizes, and incorporated into her encaustic, oil and cold wax surfaces. Mast writes, “PEM glass is not just another art material, but represents a profound paradigm shift in using technology to heal our environmental dilemma by keeping waste out of landfills and greenhouse gases out of the air. My use of PEM glass is one way I am able to reclaim a healthy relationship with the earth.”
Christine Joy was born in upstate New York in 1952. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976 with a B.F.A. in Printmaking. In 1980 after completing a master’s program in art therapy at Vermont College she moved west and settled in Bozeman where she still lives.
Mast received her MFA from Queens College in New York. Her work is in over thirty corporate, private and museum collections worldwide and is featured in several publications that include: Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax (Watson-Guptill, NY, 2001), Art & Science Now (Thames & Hudson, NY, 2010), Encaustic Art in the 21st Century (Schiffer Publishing, PA, 2016) and Launching the Imagination (McGraw Hill, NY, 2017). Mast is a drawing and painting professor in the School of Art at Montana State University. She lives and works in Bozeman, Montana.