In The News…

In January 2020, four artists known as the CRAM Collective — Crystal Marie of Gurnee; Rebecca Stahr of Grayslake; Amanda Jolley of Kansas City, Missouri; and Melissa Hall of Lexington, Kentucky — gathered in one studio for a week to reignite their creative fires.

But that retreat gave them more than just a creative spark. It created a bond that inspired an artistic collection.

The series, called “Transcend:distance,” began as a way to remain creatively connected across the miles. As each artist returned to their own homes, a round-robin of art-making began.

But little did they know that a worldwide pandemic was on its way, and what began as a fun activity would soon become a lifeline of connection through social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

Beginning with a blank panel, each artist simply created from their own style, then mailed it to the next artist in the collective. A new blank panel was begun with each round, but with each round the collection of works began to influence the materials, colors, themes, and energy of the new works.

After four rounds (16 12-inch-by-12-inch panels), the original concept for the round-robin was complete, but the desire to stay connected remained. Thus, the start of another round, this time a complex web of art-making and exchanging on 6-inch-by-6-inch panels, with a goal of 64 total.

The result is an exhibition of more than 75 pieces of mixed media art showcasing an enormous web of creativity and connection that transcends the distance of heart, body, and soul.

“We are quite excited to share this very special exhibition with our community,” said Kendra Kett, director/owner of the Blue Moon Gallery. “The art is engaging, beautiful, unique, and soulful. These artists are top tier, and you can literally see and feel their strong connection to one another through the art they produced as they completed their round-robin efforts across three states.

“The pieces are mixed media, including encaustic, oil and cold wax, photography, paperfolding, and collage. It’s a stunning show.”

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Published by Rebecca Stahr

Chicago artist working primarily in oil/cold wax and encaustic. I love finding beauty in the ordinary and lessons in impermanence of life and nature.

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