Thursday, April 11, 2013

So honored to have 2 pieces in this important exhibit!

Readable and downloadable Catalog for the Swept Away Exhibition @ CCMoA

First Museum Exhibition for Encaustic Painting on Cape Cod

Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic at Cape Cod Museum of Art

Cape Cod Museum of Art will open its doors to Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic on May 18. This is the first museum in the region to feature encaustic painting in a dedicated exhibition, and the first anywhere to focus on a particular and noteworthy aspect of the medium: its extravagant quality of light. Thirty one artists from around the country, all masters of the medium, have been invited by Michael Giaquinto, curator of exhibitions at the museum. Some 50 paintings, sculptures and prints reflecting a range of thematic expression will be shown.

Dates: May 18-June 23
Reception with the artists: Sunday, June 2, 5:30—7:30 p.m.
Location: Cape Cod Museum of Art, 60 Hope Lane, Dennis, Mass., off Route 6A
Museum information:

Participating artists:
Tracey Adams, California                   
Lynn Basa, Illinois                              
Dawna Bemis, Maine                          
Michael Billie, New Mexico               
Binnie Birstein, Connecticut               
Anne Cavanaugh, Massachusetts       
Cecile Chong, New York                     
David A. Clark, California                    
Linda Cordner, Massachusetts                        
Elena De La Ville, Florida                  
Lorrie Fredette, New York                    
Karen Freedman, Pennsylvania                      
Milisa Galazzi, Rhode Island              
Lorraine Glessner, Pennsylvania         
Jane Guthridge, Colorado                     
Howard Hersh, California 
Joanne Mattera, New York                  
Cherie  Mittenthal, Massachusetts
Sara Mast, Montana
Catherine Nash, Arizona                     
Laura Moriarty, New York        
Nancy Natale, Massachusetts
Jane Allen Nodine, South Carolina
Lisa Pressman, New Jersey
Linda Ray, Virginia
Paula Roland, New Mexico
Marybeth Rothman, New Jersey
Toby Sisson, Rhode Island
Donna Hamil Talman, Massachusetts
Elise Wagner, Oregon
Gregory Wright, Massachusetts

About Encaustic
Like all paints, encaustic consists of finely ground pigments suspended in a medium. With oil paint, that medium is linseed oil. With acrylic, it’s plastic polymer. With encaustic, it’s beeswax. While there are many material qualities to encaustic—texture, malleability, even aroma—the most salient is the way it interacts with light. Entering the translucent surface of a wax painting, light reflects against the gessoed ground, refracting slightly so that it emanates as a soft glow.

In and of itself, refractive luminosity is not unique to encaustic; Rembrandt was a master of the oil glaze, employing its pigmented viscosity to capture light and return its refulgence to the eye of the viewer. But the substantive nature of wax allows it to do something that other mediums, even Rembrandt’s glazes, do not. Optically deeper than its actual thickness, wax seems to hold the illumination momentarily before releasing it. To look at a painting in this medium is to experience the sensation of light suspended.

A technical feature of encaustic is that the wax must be heated to be applied. Keeping the paint molten, the artist works swiftly to charge the brush and place the stroke, whether it be a quick daub, a filmy layer or a gestural swipe. Each layer or group of brush strokes must be fused with a heating tool  (tacking iron, heat gun or small torch) so that the surface, while comprised of discrete compositional elements, is structurally unified. Wax can also be poured and cast.

Though it dates to Ancient Greece and and was the material component of the Fayum portraits of Greco-Roman Europe, encaustic fell into disuse as less technically demanding paints such as tempera—later, oil and much later, acrylic—were invented. It became known in the mid-20th Century when Jasper Johns adopted it as his medium of choice and is now more widely employed as studio artists integrate it into their practice.

Concurrent Encaustic Conference
Swept Away has been planned to coincide with the Seventh International Encaustic Conference, which takes place in Provincetown. The Conference, founded and directed by artist Joanne Mattera and now co-produced with Truro Center for the Art at Castle Hill, is the only fully professional event of its kind.  Devoted to the serious study of encaustic painting, the Conference brings encaustic into the discourse of contemporary art with three days of talks, panel discussions and demonstrations, and a keynote talk by Barbara O’Brien, director and chief curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, who will speak on the work of Petah Coyne. This year over 200 artists from around the world will convene May 31-June 2 . Workshops at Castle Hill will bookend the event. More information: