Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lenore Fiore-Mills: Master Storyteller in Wax and Dye

Sometimes in life, you sit back and realize that you're lucky to know certain people. For me, one of those people is Lenore Fiore-Mills. Last September, I had the pleasure of attending her solo exhibition “Celebration and Ceremony”at the Pleiades Gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea District. As a lover of folk art, color and works that make me want to peruse every inch of them, I was in artistic heaven when I first walked in and saw her magical works in Batik. Seldom do you see Batik art in galleries, and especially work of this caliber. She truly is a master storyteller in wax and dye!

It's a thrill to possess art like the variety that Mills creates in a collection, so imagine my excitement, the week before last, when I received a tube in the mail containing an 11" x 14" Batik piece, inspired by Mill's larger work "Smoking Dragon." It's a fantastic new addition to my New Mexico apartment, and it will always hold a prominent place in my home, wherever I roam.

Batik is one of the oldest art forms in the world, with its roots going back to approximately 206 BC-24 AD in China. Traditionally, Batik artists utilize a special wax-dipped knife with which they paint designs and patterns on cloth. When the wax dries, it cracks, and during the dyeing process, the dye enters the cracks creating lines. The signature Batik patterns are revealed on the cloth once the wax boils away. To create what she calls “harmonious compositions,” Mills uses material as her canvas on which she first does a pencil drawing. She then alternates layers of wax and dye to completion. The wax is applied with fine brushes and the fabric is submerged in dye.

For more than 40 years, Lenore Mills has been honing her craft and finding inspiration in a variety of subjects that find their way into her work such as her fascination with festivals, ceremonies and street scenes ranging from the Giglio in Williamsburg, to the Black Cowboys at the Manumission Day commemoration, to St. Augustine's on the Lower East Side. Though her earlier works were much simpler, Mill’s Batik has grown-up, taking on more intricate elements.

In addition to her showing at Pleiades Gallery, Lenore Mill’s works have been seen at DaVinci Art Alliance in Philadelphia, the Artspace in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, as well as New York City’s L'Atelier Gallery and Framing and the Photo District Gallery, in addition to the Dutot Museum, Delaware Water Gap. Her works are sought worldwide, Mills' Batiks are held by collectors in the United States, Japan, and Brazil.

For more information, contact Lenore Fiore Mills at 570-947-7942 or Please see for sample paintings and more information.

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