By John Chambless

Staff Writer

Patty Moshanko's muted contemplations of nature's colors and shapes are an intriguing blend of leaves, petals, roots and vines, with richly textured surfaces that look like ancient frescoes.

"Wax Worx," Moshanko's solo show of 28 works, opened on June 2 at Bookplace in Oxford. The square-format semi-abstracts are encaustic, a medium in which beeswax is heated, mixed with powdered pigments and painted onto panels. The wax hardens quickly, but it can be scraped, layered and manipulated, giving each panel a depth and richness.

Many of the works have an autumnal palette of greens and browns, but a few have dashes of vivid pigment. "Leda" is a striking blue-green work with layered colors, sinuous lines and oval white shapes aligned at the bottom.

A few of the works are quite subtle but distinctive. "Fade" has four pale leaf shapes on an icy-looking ground, as if they are the last leaves of autumn being consumed by frost. On the other end of the color spectrum, "Tendril" overlays the abstract background with spindly green pea pods and vines.

Moshanko's works are subtle, revealing new incised or painted shapes with each viewing. The interplay of purely abstract shapes contrasts nicely with the easily recognizable elements from nature, creating an interplay that's open to interpretation. An added dimension somes from the beeswax, which has a lovely, sweet aroma that adds resonance to these distinctive works, which the artist says are inspired by her rural surroundings in southern Chester County.

"Wax Worx" continues through June 23 at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford). Hours are Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 717-951-6418 or e-mail rbeardsbookplace@gmail.com.