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New show featuring the beauty of chaos and the cosmos to open Friday, August 3

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 23, 2012      
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Contact: Emelia.Cowans@naturalsciences.org; 919.733.7450, ext. 305

Chaos and Cosmos to open at the NCMNS Nature Art Gallery on First Friday, August 3, 2012

(Raleigh)—The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Nature Art Gallery will host an exhibit of paintings by Shelly Hehenberger starting Friday, August 3, with an opening reception for the artist from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The show, titled Chaos and Cosmos, continues through Monday, September 3.

This exhibit is a meditation on the patterns of living things explored through the process of drawing and painting. "My way of working is a balance and a contrast between the unity and connectedness of the cosmos and the unknown, uncontrollable, even dangerous territory of chaos," says Hehenberger. She uses patterns of nature and other imagery to suggest aspects of nature, especially that of growing, living organisms. She is particularly fascinated with the theoretical idea of a unified field existing at the sub-atomic level and has been working on these pieces simultaneously since 2006, using oil paint, wax, dirt, sand and chalk applied to handmade wood panels.

Hehenberger works in these mediums by constantly layering marks or scraping them out; taking surfaces apart or reassembling them in other forms. This continuous cycling and recycling of materials creates a sense of the creative energy that exists at all levels of nature. She strives to let her process be like that of nature's, which inspires her. Through this she has created a body of work that visually reflects the beauty of the natural world in all its complexity and diversity. She has always had an interest in the study and enjoyment of the natural sciences, especially geology, microbiology and cosmology, incorporating ideas from these studies into her imagery and way of working.

Hehenberger has earned degrees in graphic design and painting and worked for several years as a graphic designer with many clients including Disney, Mattel and National Geographic. She has written and illustrated several books and has been a visiting  artist and visiting professor at Wake Forest University, Appalachian State and Meredith College. SAS and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill have also commissioned works by Hehenberger. She has exhibited extensively since 2006 and lives in Carrboro with her husband and daughter.


First Friday is a free, family-friendly, social event held the first Friday of each month at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.  Visitors can enjoy exhibits, shopping, food and spirits until 9pm. The Natural Horror Picture Show (a vintage, sci-fi flick of 'B' movie caliber) begins at 7 p.m. Arrive early for live music and a film short from the A/V Geek archives.  For information, call 919.733.7350, ext. 379.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, located at 11 West Jones Street in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Visit us online at naturalsciences.org. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday, 12-5pm. General admission is free. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, July 25, 2012