Friday, September 10, 2010

Cutesie (empty) Wootsie

Quoted below is part of a review of an encaustic group show entitled "The Whole Ball of Wax: A Celebration of Encaustic", at the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, in Toronto. The review was posted on the blogTO by Matthew Purvis on September 9, 2010:
I've always really enjoyed the encaustic medium. For anyone who doesn't know, encaustic involves working with beeswax which is pigmented and layered through painting and melting. It's a long intricate process which creates incredibly tactile and rich surfaces capable of complex shades and contrasts. It's an old technique which has spanned from ancient Egyptian portraiture to Jasper Johns' famous "Flag."

It's regained its popularity over the last twenty years or so, but, for reasons which escape me, people usually don't do anything terribly exciting with it. Maybe it's the giddiness of the surface it involves - there's just not much temptation to look for anything else. As a possible byproduct of this, there's a tendency to a folk-whimsical cuteness in a lot of it. When that isn't there, you'll often find a play on the superficial quality of the medium common to much abstract painting. There's a lot of pleasure and charm in all that, which shouldn't by any means be dismissed, but somehow I had the feeling that I was at the town artist's fair in the village where I grew up. They even had public demonstrations of how it's done.
This review snaps directly onto, in just a few words, both the allure and the pitfalls of the medium. Such as I have experienced them in the last few months of so. I would add that with encaustic there is also the tendency to get caught up in process. As opposed to sticking to a plan.

The problem for me is what to do now. I feel as if I need to back away from the giddiness (for now) and devise some kind of plan. I am sure there is a way to combine giddiness with planning. But how? But how?

my Interesting/Fav Encaustic Artists

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