Un-Known Paths

New Works by Christy Hengst


Oct 14 2022 - Nov 13 2022

Christy Hengst is perhaps best known in Santa Fe for her sculptural wax with
porcelain paintings shown in galleries and museums in the 2000’s, and her many
public art projects, including three bus stops, two haiku trails, Same Boat, and
the traveling public art project ‘birds in the park’. Delving back into painting,
Hengst draws on 35+ years of art making for this body of work, layering a wealth
of materials and techniques, including oil, charcoal, wax, porcelain, collage,
drawing, serigraphy, and photopolymer gravure.
Un-known Paths explores themes of pathways, stillness, and listening.
Developing from decades of hiking the land around Santa Fe, many of the
paintings cluster around specific paths (Sun Mountain, Aspen Vista, Chamisa
Trail) or specific plants encountered along the way (yucca, mullein, piñon).
Hengst gathers material and field research in the form of drawings, writing, and
As much as this work is about specific places, it’s also about returning to a place
of not-knowing, and building intimacy through renewed curiosity. A meditation
cushion sits facing the painting in Hengst’s studio. When unsure what comes
next, she sits and listens — as she says, it’s a conversation. In Un-known Paths,
Hengst explores seeing and creating with a fresh eye.
Thoughts on meditation also create content in the work, literally. Ripped
selections of zen books, as well as Hengst’s own written notes, form the
foundations for many of the paintings. The text often becomes obscured by
drawing and painting. Nevertheless, the text – chewed, swallowed, and
transmuted – becomes an important layer in the character of these pieces.
In addition to the paintings, Un-Known Paths will host a new flock of porcelain
birds that have been born as companions and counterpoint to the twodimensional
work. Related to the birds from ‘birds in the park’, these sculptural
pieces carry cobalt imagery and text informed by the paintings.