Friday, June 12, 2009


Elise Wagner (b. 1966)
encaustic on birch
48x48 in.
Image: Chase Gallery

I just got the June/July issue of Art in America. When I get a new issue I flip through the gallery ads first, making note of images that peak my interest. I then go back through and head to the internets to see more of the particular artists' work. Sometimes it makes its way to the blog. I think it is great to introduced to work of artists working and exhibiting today who aren't uber-well known.

While I was initially drawn to the bleeding color of the image, I was excited to see that the medium of the work is encaustic. I briefly worked with encaustic in college. It is essentially a colored wax that is heated to a liquid and applied with a brush to the canvas (in this case to the birch wood) and fuse it to the surface with a heat gun. You can play with the application, thin or thick, you can mold or etch. Encaustic is wonderfully versatile.

As many of you know, I'm an abstract girl when it comes to many of my art loves as well as my own work. One of the things I love about work like Wagner's is how much else you can see in it. Even before looking at her fairly descriptive titles, you can feel the weight natural affiliations in her work. If you look through her other current work you'll find an affinity for the celestial. "The texture and complexity of the surfaces often represent the great unknown and celestial, while the scientific symbolism suggests the accurate and quantifiable." (artist statement)

She also creates what look like wonderful monoprints, using another facet of the versatility of encaustic paint.

See more of her images that you can zoom in on in a show currently at Chase Gallery, in Boston

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