In her third solo show at the Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects gallery, Saya Woolfalk (CRF 2018) introduces The Woods Women, a secret society that predates her Empathic Universe. The exhibition includes the artist’s newest works on paper, inspired by her study of the renowned Hudson River School and herbarium collections at The Newark Museum of Art where she was the Artist-in-Residence in 2019.

Some of Woolfalk’s works appear to be simple abstractions, but are in fact quite complex, composed of hundreds of intricately pieced and layered elements created from handmade Japanese papers that she has painted and stained with watercolor and gouache, Japanese silver foil, and acrylic medium. Celestial and historical references also occur in Woolfalk’s newest sculptures, hand-blown, glass objects created during the artist’s recent residency at the renowned Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle. Created in a variety of gourd-like shapes, they refer to The Big Dipper star formation, which in rural nineteenth-century America was also known as The Drinking Gourd, referencing the hollowed out gourd used by enslaved Africans (and other rural Americans) as a water dipper, which became an important signpost for fleeing slaves as they journeyed north along the Underground Railroad. The Woods Women will be available until November 23; learn more here.

Saya Woolfalk: Field Notes from the Empathic Universe and Tumbling into Landscape are up at the Newark Museum of Art through December 2022.

Woolfalk’s work is featured in Transformed: Objects Reimagined by American Artists at the Montclair Art Museum through December 3, 2023. Woolfalk is also part of the group exhibition Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY, available until December 30, 2022.

Image: Clockwise from top: The Woods Woman (Sassafrass, Goldenrod, Meadowsweet, Cannabis), 2022.