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"Lessons from the Hive" at Finlandia's Reflection Gallery in April

Artwork by Melissa HronkinHANCOCK, MI - The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host an encaustics and sculpture exhibit, "Lessons from the Hive" by artist Melissa Hronkin, April 2 to April 21, 2012.

An opening reception for the artist will take place at gallery Thursday, April 5, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

An artist, teacher, and beekeeper, Melissa Hronkin goes about her days open to the lessons her work has to teach her.

"Artwork by Melissa HronkinA fascination with bees led me to experiment and explore the art of encaustic painting, and how this relates to the content of my artwork," she says. "I have always been fascinated with alchemy and thinking of the artist as an alchemist. Honeybees also do this; they spin gold."

In this collection of work, Hronkin continues her exploration of the textures and physical properties of beeswax and mixed media.

In one series, she explored the stylus tool, making small dots and lines with encaustic paints on black canvases and paper. "The process is repetitive, and the accumulation of marks is reminiscent of the hive as a super-organism," Hronkin notes.

In addition to these two-dimensional explorations, Hronkin collaborated with her students to add to the exhibit a three-dimensional element.

Students in her Finlandia Sculpture class (ARD 276) worked collaboratively to create structures using recycled cardboard rings and other materials, a process mimicking the collaborative nature of the honeybee society. Hronkin exlains that light, shadows, and positive and negative forms are explored in these abstract sculptures.

"I offer this work in hope, respect, and gratitude for all that I have learned from 'the hive,'" Hronkin says. "Whether it is a hive of bees or students, the stings and sweat are just part of the journey. The interconnectedness of humans and nature has emerged as an important theme in this collection."

Melissa Hronkin has a B.F.A. from University of Alaska Anchorage, an M.A. from Ohio State University, and an M.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She teaches art at Houghton Elementary School and is an adjunct instructor at Finlandia University.

Hronkin and her husband, John, operate Algomah Acres Honey Farm and Honey House, a honey processing facility, art studio, and community art space in Greenland, Mich.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia's Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock.

For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or e-mail


Photo cutlines:

Melissa Hronkin-web.jpg: The artist Melissa Hronkin

Melissa Hronkin Artwork-1-web.jpg and Melissa Hronkin Artwork-2-web.jpg: Encaustic paint/mixed media artwork by Melissa Hronkin