Begun in the Spring of 2010 during a residency at a castle in Umbertide, Italy at Civitella Ranieri. Azara said she “worked when it was cold and rainy everyday and even though it was beautiful, it was uncomfortable, damp, chilly, very unpleasant. This series of scrolls represent a mood, an assault on my body by nature with its relentless late spring rain and chill. Something about Italy with its tradition and history and its beauty juxtaposed by its cruel weather during this time spurred on this work.”
The Castle Series is made by rubbing with both water soluble and non-soluble caran d’ache oil pastels, on mylar over carved luan (wood) plates. Taken from the foliage around the studio, leaves were traced and collaged on the surface. The wood plates themselves are carved in such a way that their surface resembles tree limbs, trunks and bark as well as leaves. They span from 4 feet to 8 feet, some vertical and some horizontal.
Taken from the leaf in nature, using mylar and oil pastel, to create collage rubbings. Some of them, mature and young rhubarb leaves present a statement about the cycle of life.
Scrolls collaged with rice paper and mylar from woodcuts and leaves. They bring a sense of nature to the city experience. The works combine oil pastel, paint, graphite, colored pencil, cut-out and rubbed onto a mylar surface.
“The scrolls are part of an ongoing series begun during the artist's residence in 2013 in Greve, Italy. The centerpiece are a series of collaged mylar scrolls - several over seven feet in height that evoke what Azara has described as "a tree/spine relationship with the body as source for spirit." On each, the central image - the "vertebrae" - are an outline of a domestic New York rhododendron plant that is painted, duplicated and stacked like a totem. The use of Mylar lends itself to an ethereal quality, and acts, as she explains, as a skin that records her "journey through life," a shell behind which dwells a "luminescent spirit."
-Harry J. Weil, curator, Tuscan Spring: Rubbings, Scrolls and Other Works, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.