Artworks Center for Contemporary Arts holds Tragic Beauty: Solo Exhibition by Elle MacLaren

From left: Elle MacLaren, Moulin #6; Moulin #8; Moulin #5, encaustic & ink on cradled wood panel,16 x 16. Photo courtesy of Artworks Center for Contemporary Art in Loveland.

Santa Fe-based expressionistic painter Elle MacLaren is bringing a solo exhibition called Tragic Beauty to Artworks Center for Contemporary Art from Friday, January 8, 2021, through Saturday, February 27, in Loveland, bringing attention to climate change.

Elle MacLaren was formerly known as Ellen MacLaren Caukin. She began exhibiting with galleries in the front range area and Boulder Open studios from 2004 to 2008, transitioning from oil paintings to mixed media, including encaustic. Tragic Beauty is an ongoing series in encaustic and oil.

“The accelerated melting of glaciers has been compared by some to a canary in a coal mine,” said Elle. “I don’t think we’ve woken up to the urgency of the situation,” Elle said.

Elle shows at various galleries in the Southwest, such as GVG Contemporary in Santa Fe. Her reappearance in Colorado with Tragic Beauty will demonstrate her mastery of encaustic and oil.

Elle heats and manipulates wax as glaciers melt. According to Elle, the hot encaustic drips, melds, behave spontaneously, and hardens very quickly, making working with encaustic a work against the clock, which is similar to the climate crisis.

“I believe it is important to report this in as many ways possible,” said Elle. “My response is through encaustic paintings, showing the flow and melting of ice through wax,” Elle said.

Multiple works are titled Moulin, a vertical shaft found in glacier-formed surface water moving through the melting surface. Elle creates images of cracked ice structures with dark water coming through.

These works are reminders of the precarious environmental reality and the dangers of climate change already in full force on the globe. Tragic Beauty works to present a dramatic culmination of an ongoing series for Elle, who has gone through life changes herself and hopes that audiences will listen to the ice.


For more information regarding Elle MacLaren’s Tragic Beauty, as well as other current and upcoming exhibitions at the Artworks Center for Contemporary Arts, visit: https://www.artworksloveland.org/currentandupcoming

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