February brings us sweet chocolates and sweet eye candy to enjoy as well.

Mari Marks uses encaustic, beeswax, pigment and other natural substances to evoke a sense of timelessness and rapport with the world around us. The quiet intensity of her pieces reminds me of Mark Rothko, although the addition of texture adds some element of engagement with the materials. This is work to contemplate and savor.

At a more frenetic pace, we look at vehicles powered by people but occupying a space somewhere between a car and a bicycle. Designed for two riders, the "zeppelin" has an electric motor in the rear and can go up to 25 mph on flat surfaces.

National Geographic claims that rather than stone or weapon, humanity's greatest achievement lies in the use of symbols to express the world around us. Shown are herds of bisons, rhinos, ibex and mammoths that filled the lives of humans roughly 36,000 years ago. Fingers on rock walls and ochre-tinged hand prints were drawn onto almost 400,000 square feet of cave walls that were found in 1994 in France and Spain, predating the pyramids in Egypt.

Web Urbanist takes us into the world of artists who recycle books. Cutting, gluing, reassembling and transforming books into something more-than or other-than is the hallmark of these 12 artists. Scroll down to the work of Noriko ambe, whose lush creations turn into sculptural slithers; and Bronia Sawyer, who seems to have made books into wavy creatures. Michael Bom creates light fixtures from books; while Cara Barer cuts and folds until we have what look like organic forms.

While we are at Web Urbanist, don't miss the live dancers with digital projection mapped onto them as they move. The results are varied and spectacular, well worth your time.

Did you know that the art of flower pressing is thousands of years old? It is claimed that pressed flowers were found in the coffin of Tutankhamun's Mother in Egypt, and we know that both Greek and Roman botanists were specialists in the techniques. Today, spanish artist Ignacio Canales Aracil uses cone-shaped molds as holders for flower stems which are left to dry for almost a month. You can see more of Aracil's work at his website.

Joana Vasconcelos has a vast and colorful sculptural vocabulary that seems to explode into the space around her. She uses materials like ornaments, felt appliques, woollen crochet, even steel cables to build a visceral outpouring of forms and colors. Like some other artists we have looked at recently, she places some of these wild creatures in classical environments where they seem to defy tradition with glee. Don't miss her pink and lucious Lilicoptere of 2012, a splendid valentine for the eyes.

So you think that a nail is a nail is a common denizen of your tool shed? John Bisbee of Maine has collected thousands of them and created a whole new world. He has bent them, hit them, stacked them, and otherwise given them new identities.

A rare cooperative venture between the Prado Museum and the Fundacion Botin, based in Madrid, is expected to continue for five years. The goal is to produce a five-volume catalog of Francisco de Goya's drawings which will then be exhibited at both venues. The Museum in Madrid owns over 500 drawings by Goya, with the balance of the material coming from institutions all over the world. The Fundacion Botin states that Goya's drawings are equal in importance to his paintings and prints and in fact existed as his "visual diary".

A charming and spectacular retrospective of the work of Yayoi Kusama at the Museo Tamayo in Mexico has attracted so many visitors that extra security guards and guides had to be hired. "Infinite Obsession", originally staged at the Whitney Museum in New York City, has been popular especially with young people: the Museo Tamayo has seen its attendance swell from 5,000 people per month to over 2000 every day. Kusama's joy in polka dots has touched the lives of many.

From time to time I check out the website of Bitforms Gallery, which generally produces high quality exhibits. Their current offering is no exception. From its provocative title ("Distrust That Particular Flavor") to the works shown, the show presents a challenging group of artists with compelling pieces. Of particular interest to me were Cullen Washington's "Letters to God", described as "pages blowing into the wind", Asif Mian's fluid "Fight or Flight", and Heeseop Yoon's "Still Life with Keyboard", using masking tape on mylar.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2015