'Harmony' 2-Person Show: Olympic Sculptor Shray and Artist Matthew Higginbotham Presented by Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Olympic Bronze Sculptor, Shray, reveals the same grace and empathy in human forms that landscape painter, Matthew Higginbotham, finds in earth and sky.

Waxlander Gallery is honored to present a 2-person show with these accomplished artists: Olympic Sculptor Shray and artist Matthew Higginbotham.


Exhibition: Harmony — Sculptures by Shray and landscape paintings by Matthew Higginbotham.

Show Dates: August 29-September 11, 2006

Artists’ Reception: Friday, September 1, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Location: Waxlander Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 622 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe. phone: 505.984.2202 -- 800.342.2202

In music there are certain chords that resonate with the human ear, allowing the listener to surrender to rhythm, melody and harmony. For the sensitive visual artist, nature offers similar rhythms, melodies and harmonies that compel them to surrender to emotions that resonate in the human soul.

In her elegant figural bronzes, Shray draws upon organic forms for melodic lines and harmonic highlights and shadows that capture the rhythms of life. As the California Bay area sculptor has written, “When I feel nature’s breath and hear her laugh, I am free to sculpt without conforming to the pretensions of those who would mock her beauty as passe. I lean on nature, my old friend, and watch her changing. I hope to grow and change with her.”

Part Native American, Shray received her great grandmother’s name, which translates to “rising star” or “morning star.” Born in Virginia, she was educated at San Francisco’s Academy of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute and with Piero Mussi, founder of Artworks Foundry. A recipient of numerous honors, in March 2006 Shray became a finalist in an international sculpture competition held in conjunction with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Her sculpture titled “Raising Tomorrow's Olympic Champions” was chosen from a field of more than 2,600 entries. She is one of only two American artists to garner the competition's highest rating in this touring exhibition. The tour will be overseen by General Secretary Zou Wen and Director Yuan XiKun.

Complementing Shray’s bronzes are Matthew Higginbotham’s landscapes, which are inspired by a similar oneness with nature. “I reach for the peace I sense when viewing moments of grandeur or stillness in the landscape,” he says, “It is like a moment suspended in time that produces an emotional response.”

Born in Colorado, Higginbotham was raised in Oklahoma and educated at the Philbrook Art Institute, Tulsa. He built his first career in fine art ceramics, but by the early 1990s he was experimenting with oils, a medium he committed to in 1995. “When I look at a poplar, for instance, I see it as an entity full of energy and life,” he explains. “Light and atmosphere define it, but for me a poplar represents an emotion that takes reality to a deeper place.”    



At age fifteen, Shray discovered the Greek sculpture, Winged Victory, at the Louvre in Paris and declared to her mother that she was to become a sculptor.

She began her formal classical training with a full scholarship at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and continued her studies at the San Francisco Art Institute with a full grant.

For eight years, Shray mentored with Italy's Piero Mussi, founder of the internationally renowned Mussi Artworks Foundry of Berkeley, California.

She is now pursuing new creative works with Alan Osborne, renowned artist and owner of the Art Foundry and Gallery, Inc. – one of Northern California’s premier bronze foundries. http://www.artfoundryinc.com

Shray intensively studied the work of Rodin in Paris and her simplicity of form has been compared to Brancusi and Henry Moore.

Shray's bronze sculpture is constantly evolving. Over the last fifteen years, Shray’s sculptures have received both national and international recognition in the form of awards and commissions.

This celebrated Olympic sculptor is represented in galleries throughout the United States and is collected internationally.

She shares her life with husband, Neal, a writer and historian.

SHRAY: ARTIST STATEMENT: "Rodin, What did you tell me? What were you trying to say to me as I studied you all those years?” – “Human emotion in stillness.”


"Moore, How far were you saying I could push the planes, the positive negative space?” “Push the form to the edge but don’t ignore the human experience.” http://www.shraybronze.com/henry-moore.html

”Brancusi — Simplicity?” –“Yes.”


I learned from all your voices to combine the way I see in a cubistic-geometric way with a recognizable sense of humanity while pushing towards abstraction - in essence, to combine figurative and abstract without losing the human emotion so as to capture movement in stillness.

I see the emotion in form, the hard lines, the curves … and allow them to carry the human condition through and around those negative, positive spaces. I am concerned, as I think Rodin, Moore, and Brancusi were, with the fine line between the individual and humanity and how to achieve this without succumbing to sentimentality. This is one of the great puzzles figurative sculptors face. My approach is to let the form carry the emotion. This is not often undertaken in abstract contemporary sculpture today, at least in terms of love, kindness and beauty. — Shray


For thirty-one years, art has been Matthew Higginbotham's passion. Born in Colorado Springs, CO in 1963, Matthew soon became involved with art making at an early age. At the age of eleven, his mother enrolled him in an art class at the Philbrook Art Institute in Tulsa, OK where he learned pottery design, glazing, and throwing. These evolved years later into a fine art pottery business in Washington State that lasted for four years, from 1991-1995. Galleries such as Sasak in the Seattle Design Center, Seattle’s Southwest Collections, and others throughout the state successfully marketed and sold his work. Then in early 1995, a creative transformation occurred when he experimented with oil painting. What he discovered was a new way to communicate his creative vision in the immediacy of painting on canvas that he felt was absent in painting glazes on pottery. The change was profound. In a matter of days, he decided to sell most all of his pottery equipment and devote himself entirely to painting. He has never regretted it.

“It was really a transformational event for me when I started painting. I remember diving into all the art books on painting I could get a hold of and going back to the studio to practice and practice. Then it took off for me. I painted a series of Southwest churches which led to a solo show in 1995 at Metro Mall Gallery in Spokane, Washington and later at Bedford Gallery in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But it wasn’t until I moved to northern New Mexico in late 1995 that I began to mature as a painter.”

“Eventually I found that landscapes are what engage me. There is so much in a landscape like, for instance, so many wonderful opposites- darkness and light, peace and chaos, subtlety and directness, intensity and muteness. All of these parts, to varying degrees, somehow find there way into my paintings. But what is more, there is often an energy I sense around me. I am, for instance, especially fascinated with poplar trees-their height, the way their leaves move in a wind, their brilliant color changes, and how they are grouped together, sometimes in rows. And it is my feeling of them that I want to put out on the canvas. This is what I try to do in all my work. It is about translating any landscape into how they speak to me. I may paint a very large and red poplar tree that looks like it’s exploding out of the canvas because that is the way I feel it. To me, I’m not just looking at a poplar, but an entity full of energy and life. Light helps me see the poplar, but beyond that, there is an atmosphere on and around it, and then there is, for lack of a better word, the emotion. Put together, what ultimately happens is that my pieces, in a sense, become dreams that take reality to a deeper place.”

Matthew lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Landscape painting is his primary subject matter. He is represented by Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lynne Fine Art; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Firedworks Gallery, Alamosa, Colorado.


Waxlander Gallery and Sculpture Garden is celebrating its 23rd anniversary on historic Canyon Rd in Santa Fe, New Mexico. http://www.waxlander.com/

Housed in a beautiful old adobe and poised behind a garden of beautiful life size bronze sculpture and mesmerizing kinetic art, Waxlander invites you into a world of vibrant color.

Waxlander offers collectors a wide variety of contemporary art in watercolor, oil, acrylic, encaustic, mixed media, kinetic copper and bronze sculpture.

Waxlander Gallery and Sculpture Garden has had a proud relationship with Shray for over 9 years. Her monumental sculptures grace the walk way and invite the collectors into the gallery.

In the Gallery, Shray's work takes center stage and is constantly admired and purchased by collectors all over the world. Matthew Higginbotham’s richly textured and colorful landscape paintings adorn our walls and delight our patrons.

“Waxlander Gallery is delighted that Shray has been chosen to represent the United States in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Landscape Sculpture Design Contest — one of only two American selected as “excellent” works. The world is realizing what we at Waxlander already knew.


Waxlander Gallery Website


Shray’s official website can be viewed at http://www.shraybronze.com/

Shray’s complete works can be viewed at http://www.shraybronze.com/the-sculpture.html

Matthew Higginbotham beautiful works can be viewed at http://www.waxlander.com/artists/higginbotham/index.html

For more information on the contest please visit the official Beijing 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Design Contest website: http://www.sculpture-china.com/

Waxlander Gallery

622 Canyon Road

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

phone: 505.984.2202 -- 800.342.2202

fax: 505.984.0643



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