Renee Hartig

Elaine Tolsma Harlow

Profile | Statement | Biography


Elaine Tolsma Harlow • Profile

From texture evident in her collage work in oil to the subtleties of her use of dry media, Elaine Tolsma Harlow has offered us glimpses of her progression toward encaustic paintings.  While these appear to be a departure from her previous pieces, the naturally sculptural qualities of her abstract paintings seem to build on the characteristics and echo her representational work.

Her process of laying down wax, melting and then scraping it down repeatedly informs the final piece. As her paintings progress, both contrasting and common elements form connections. The lack of control caused by using hot wax and heat guns pushes her beyond precision and in the seeming chaos, she finds beauty in order and structure. Relationships between elements appear and rhythm, pattern, and texture emerge.  As each work evolves, it gains an identity through the process of making marks and textures.

Since earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Calvin College, Tolsma Harlow has exhibited in West Michigan and her work has been collected nationally and internationally.  Her passion for the arts developed early in life when she expressed an interest in drawing, and she was delighted to discover that she could continue making art as a professional artist.  Today she works in oil paint and encaustic.


Elaine Tolsma Harlow • Statement

I am creating a visual history, using layers of wax to explore a balance between past and present. Encaustic painting is the vehicle I use -- layers of hot wax are built up, one upon the other, navigating the direction of the painting. But not only am I building up layers, I'm scraping them away, reducing them back down in an attempt to find harmony between past and present and how what is hidden becomes exposed to light. The past comes forward and incorporates itself into the present creating a depth of color and texture. The visual histories that are created are a landscape of experiences that upon further exploration bear witness to more than at first glance. I'm interested in those intricacies and tension and continually hope to examine those as I work in encaustics. 


Elaine Tolsma Harlow • Biography

Education

2016
Ox-Bow, Chicago Institute of Art and Design

1994
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan Life drawing class

1988-1992
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelor of Fine Arts

Selected Exhibitions

2017
"Freshly Considered", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2016
"sELECTED Works", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Toast", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

"Everyone in the Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

"Collective Alchemy", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2015
"Let's Get Started", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Toast", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

"Everyone in The Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Lookie Here”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2014
“Annual Fall Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Slightly Obsessive II”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Hop Skip & a Jump”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2012
   
“25 Year Gala”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“LG-Group”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Color Context”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Fresh Squeezed and Locally Grown”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Act II”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2011    
“Come Out and Play”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Summer Fun”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Opening Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2000
"To Good Health: Artist Care", Center Art Gallery, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1999
"Object of My Affection", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1999
"The Timmel Collection Summer Show", The Timmel Gallery, Saugatuk, Michigan

1996
"Towards Wholeness", Tromblay Gallery, Kalamazoo, Michigan

1996
"Out to Lunch", Center Art Gallery, Calvin College, Michigan

Press and Awards

2012
25 year Book LaFontsee Galleries

2012
People's Choice Award, Center Art Gallery, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

2011
On-the-Town magazine, cover and article

2009
Grand Rapids Press, Sizzling Summer Celebration

Selected Collections

Johnson Controls, Holland, Michigan

Martin Reformed Church, Mural, Martin, Michigan

DeVos Children's Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Spectrum Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Anna's House Restaurant, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Related Experience

2017
Adjunct Painting Instructor, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

2011
Adjunct painting Instructor, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI