3 Encaustic Winners: Cindy Lesperance, April South-Olson, Sheary Clough Suiter

Niza Knoll Gallery

August 3 - September 1, 2018

  • Artist reception: Friday, August 17th from 5-8 pm, during the Art District on Santa Fe’s Third Friday Collectors Night
April South Olson
April South-Olson

In the final months of 2017, Niza Knoll Gallery hosted a juried exhibition of artists who incorporate encaustic—an artistic process using pigments mixed with hot wax and fused with heat—into their work. The top three winning artists, Cindy Lesperance from Illinois, April South-Olson from Michigan and Sheary Clough Suiter from Colorado Springs, were awarded a 3-person show at the gallery to showcase additional work. The gallery is proud to present “3 Encaustic Winners” from August 3 through September 1, 2018, at 915 Santa Fe Drive. 

Niza Knoll Gallery
915 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204


Best of Show winner Cindy Lesperance hails from Chicago, Illinois. Her art has been exhibited and has earned awards in many juried shows, galleries and museums throughout the Chicagoland area and across the country. Her work is displayed in private and public collections throughout the nation and is on view as part of the permanent collection of the Encaustic Art Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Lesperance usually gets the inspiration for a piece long before it's started. “I think about it, sketch it and play with the idea.”, she says, “Seldom does the finished piece resemble these ideas exactly but somehow it prepares me to work.” She incorporates a process she developed, of meticulously applying small "droplets" of wax, one-by-one to the surface of the painting and exploring the relationship of these drips to the spaces in between them producing a tactile pattern that invites the viewer to touch. She finds the process effortless and meditative, challenging and slow, but always exciting.

Michigan Artist April South-Olson is fascinated by the act of creation. Sometimes that creation is a child drawing a line on paper; sometimes it is the changing skyline that surrounds us every day. Her work subtly exposes the human connection to the natural world by capturing a single moment in time--a connection that is easy to misplace. The encaustic medium allows her to layer the work and develop a history within the piece. Each layer helps create the next by guiding the bristles of the brush around elevations and into the deficits. Color from previous layers bleed into the next giving direction to the final surface.

Sheary Clough Suiter works out of Colorado Springs. Her recent work explores the complexity of layered wax surfaces. Extraordinary color and depth is achieved by a technique that has evolved over the course of her twenty-five-year career as a painter. Strategic scrapes and carvings, both above and below the painting surface, leave visible clues, invitations to look deeply into the mystery-laden stratum of wax. Textural build-ups offer a glimpse into the three-dimensional possibilities inherent in encaustic, while the contrasting expanses of luminous, highly-polished, smooth surfaces exhibit the finesse and skill of experienced torch-work. Awards for her encaustic paintings include a permanent collection purchase by the Anchorage Museum of Art, a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Project Award, and an Alaska State Council on the Arts Career Opportunity Grant, funded by the NEA. In addition to her studio practice, she shares her love of the encaustic medium as an instructor at Bemis School of Art, COS Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

In 2009 Niza Knoll Gallery opened in the Art District on Santa Fe and is entering its ninth year in its current location at 915 Santa Fe drive. The gallery specializes in intriguing conceptual exhibits, hosts first and third Friday events, monthly salons, private concerts and guest speakers. Past exhibits have included unusual artist pairings, outsider art, collaborative work, thought-provoking thematic exhibits of artists using non-traditional media. Through a partnership with Kingman Winery the space serves a tasting room for their fine Colorado wines and is proud to offer their wine for sale during art walks and other special events. The MIX co-op in the back of the gallery sells a delightful array of works by local Denver artists and is open during all regular gallery hours Wednesday through Friday 1-5 pm; Saturday, 1-4 pm; First and Third Friday, 4-8 pm. Visit www.nizaknollgallery.com for more information.