Artist Leonarda Boughton is showing a forest of drawings at Framingham's Gallery XIV.
When drawing trees, Leonarda Boughton depicts more than roots, a trunk with bark, branches and leaves.
Part arborist, part artist, she depicts trees as varied natural plants and sentinels of the forest, as embracing lovers and totems of human insignificance.
And in her monumental "Sitting In a Beech," Boughton evokes the primal attraction of trees as conduits to natural energy.
The Boston-based Boughton has created an enchanted forest of large striking graphite drawings of trees now displayed at Gallery XIV in the Fountain Street studios in Framingham.
Organized by gallery director Will Kerr, "Leonarda Boughton: Tree Drawings" showcases multifaceted works that are both intriguing and beautiful.
He described Boughton as "a one-of-a-kind artist who deserves to be better known."
"Leonarda is always curious to try new things. She likes to paint big things small," Kerr said. "And she likes to paint small things big. She's the real deal."
In this show, Boughton has drawn most of her tree images with a graphite pencil and conte crayons, used to depict subtle shadings and nuances. Ranging in size from 30 inches to 6 1/2 feet, her trees are, at once, botanically exact and emblematic of our deeper natural imaginings.
Boughton studied at the Museum School of the Museum of Fine Arts before moving to Mexico where she began her career in fine arts.
Kerr observed that while Boughton's trees are "realistic on one level," she imbues them with a "hyper-realistic" sheen that brings them alive like their three-dimensional counterparts in the popular movie "Avatar."
"Leonarda makes real drawings of nature - and more," he said. "She's interested in how you see your environment."
Kerr has staged the mid-sized show in his third-floor studio with his signature flair, hanging nine large drawings and a series of smaller works on paper in his burnt sienna-colored gallery beneath two silver chandeliers.
"When I say Gallery XIV is an avant-garde gallery, we are celebrating art and creativity," he said.
Like a diva waiting to make a grand entrance, three of Boughton's large striking oil paintings are displayed in a backroom workshop.
Employing brighter colors, Boughton painted three portraits of mysterious women in styles and colors reminiscent of the Renaissance.
Measuring 68 by 44 inches, "The Weaver" depicts a striking dark-haired woman in a red dress sitting before a loom with an enigmatic expression.
Equally stunning, her 58-by-48-inch "Conversations with Van Der Weyden: Portrait of a Lady" depicts a woman dressed in Medieval clothes including a veil.
While they initially seem to share little in common, Boughton's trees and portraits both straddle the aesthetic line between the real and hyper-real so they are, at once, actual people but also recognizable types.
For this exhibit, Kerr has also created a multimedia element by filming and recording a live musical installation during the show's Feb. 12 opening.
While Xeno - a "music / arts collaborative" which includes Kerr and Greg Finger, of Lowell - played an eclectic blend of music inspired by Boughton's images, the reception in the third-floor studio was filmed.
As of last week, Kerr and Finger were re-mastering the music and mixing it with images of the reception. He expects to release it shortly.
Kerr described the soon-to-be released music as "a sound installation inspired by art."
"The idea is to reinforce Gallery XIV as a transformative art space," he said.
Gallery XIV is located in Studio 3 East in Fountain Street Studios, 59 Fountain St., Framingham.
Most of Boughton's work is for sale. The exhibit runs through March.
To contact William Kerr call 508-735-1016 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The gallery is open to visitors during events or by appointment.
To learn about Leonarda Boughton, visit www.leonardaboughton.com.