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News . Feature Stories . Encaustic artist found time to go deeper with work in CIA's teacher residency


January 30, 2020

Encaustic artist found time to go deeper with work in CIA's teacher residency

For 10 days last summer, Linda Mayer focused only on making artwork while CIA took care of her meals and living situation. “I imagine this is what heaven must be like.”

"Lilith Speaks" series of encaustic paintings by Linda Mayer

Linda Mayer teaches art to middle and high school students in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio. She also teaches workshops in encaustic technique at Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls. She was part of the 2018 cohort of the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Summer Teacher Residency.

Mayer said her experience at the teacher residency was “one of the best professional experiences I’ve ever had.”

It helped her delve deeply into what she wants to say with her art, she said.

“Working alongside other teaching artists, and being able to discuss our work, widened my horizons because this is something that never happens in my daily creative life,” Mayer said. “I’m used to working in solitude, which can be limiting.”

She has also been able to transfer that to her job as a teacher. “I’m able to speak with my students about digging deeper to find new meaning with the work they create,” Mayer said. “I’m also able to share my experience at CIA with students considering pursuing an art degree.”

Mayer spent her time creating a body of work based on the Jewish legend of Lilith.

"In the legend, Lilith was the first woman, created from the same material and at the same time, as Adam," Mayer said. "When Adam refused to treat Lilith as an equal, she left him to live on her own at the Red Sea. Adam complained to God, who created Eve to be a more subservient partner. The legend of Lilith, written by men over the centuries, turned her into a demon to be feared.

"I wanted to create work from Lilith’s point of view as an intelligent, independent woman, living an autonomous life in nature and rewriting her own story," she added. "I created a series of three encaustic, sculptural relief pieces titled 'Lilith Speaks.' They combine the idea of landscape as a place of healing and freedom with images of Lilith’s face”

Mayer said her goal for the future is to continue to make and show her encaustic paintings. She recently had a piece juried into the Ann Arbor Art Center All Media Exhibition, and her painting “Morning Song” won best in show recently at the Chagrin Historical Society. “I’m especially proud of my new assemblage work, which will have its first showing this spring at Lakewood Art Studios.”

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