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An artistic collaboration at Ra-Luz Gallery

By Cynthia Simmons

Tim Hazell doesn’t understand limits — he’s a musician, poet, educator, author and artist. He is also a collaborator, continually exploring ways to integrate worlds. Tim understands that artistic collaborations result in projects that are enriched by diversity, generally resulting in greater depth and texture. His upcoming exhibit, opening July 31 at the Ra-Luz Gallery inside Hotel Posada de San Francisco, will combine his work with the Wabi Sabi Collection, which was exhibited for five years at the Generator Galley in Fábrica Aurora until its recent closing.

Variety in Unity, an art exhibit featuring the work of Tim Hazell,
Shirli Marcantel and
Gregory Ellis
Tue, Jul 31, 6-8pm
Ra-Luz Gallery
Inside Hotel Posada de San Francisco

Calle San Francisco cnr  Hidalgo
Ongoing through September 1, Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-3pm, closed Sundays

Neither Shirli Marcantel nor Gregory Ellis, the artists behind the Wabi Sabi Collection, began their professional lives as artists — Shirli was a horticultural consultant and interior landscape designer, Gregory an engineer. Shirli’s work in the interior design field sustained her while she majored in ceramics and sculpture at the Houston Museum of Fine Art’s Glassell School. When Gregory’s interest shifted from engineering to art, he began studying painting, life drawing and sculptural ceramics at Shirli’s alma mater. They began working together in 2003 when Shirli needed an assistant to complete a large ceramics commission in her native Houston.

They loved working together and continued their collaboration. They collaborate on large-scale gold leaf paintings, ceramic sculpture and mixed media paintings. They also work separately. The artists ascribe “wabi-sabi,” a Japanese term that comes from nature where seeming chaos is “perfect in its imperfections,” to their collection that also includes photographs and collages. The overriding theme of their pieces is botanical in motif. Walks in San Miguel’s El Charco botanical gardens provide inspiration. Their interest in Japanese art is reflected in their design esthetic.

Tim Hazell is an authority on indigenous Central American art. His exploration of native cultures, along with his interest in painting, began when he was a child. His subsequent studies of Old World civilizations, Sumerian and Egyptian, along with his interests in European folk tales and themes is reflected in his canvases and batiks. Tim’s work can best be described as a figurative form of abstraction. His themes, which include depictions of daily rural life, musicians, masked dancers, mythical animals and human figures in harmony with nature, along with his vivid color palate, provide a marked contrast with the subtlety of Shirli and Gregory’s work.

Variety in Unity will combine Tim’s mixed-media canvases with Shirli and Gregory’s labor-intensive gold leaf and Dutch metal-leaf paintings. Shirli and Gregory use stencils and templates to cut patterns from these delicate materials and mix textures with the Dutch metal to create color in their canvases. Often ten layers of these tissue-thin materials are applied to achieve a desired affect. Tim uses unusual combinations and textures of oil and acrylic mediums and glazes, frequently mixed directly on canvas, to produce a rainbow of effects that are not possible with traditional Western methods.

Additional information on these artists is available on their websites, and
Cynthia Simmons,, is a writer and arts development consultant living in San Miguel.

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