MELTING WAX: CONTEMPORARY ALABAMA ENCAUSTIC ART
Montgomery, ALA – Thirteen (13) Alabama artists are exhibiting their work in encaustic painting, a technique which incorporates pigments into hot wax and is built up on a canvas or other surface. These works will be on display at the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery in downtown Montgomery from November 3, 2016 – January 13, 2017. The gallery is located on the first floor of the RSA Tower, 201 Monroe Street.
Encaustic painting was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. This painting technique had a variety of applications: for the painting of portraits and scenes of mythology on panels, for the coloring of marble and terra cotta, and for work on ivory (probably the tinting of incised lines).
Wax is an excellent preservative of materials. It was from this use that the art of encaustic painting developed. The Greeks applied coatings of wax and pitch to weatherproof their ships. Pigmenting the wax gave rise to the decorating of warships and later, merchant ships. Mention is even made by Homer of the painted ships of the Greek warriors who fought at Troy. The use of a rudimentary encaustic was an established practice in the Classical Period (500-323 BC). It is possible that at about that time the crude paint applied with tar brushes to the ships was refined for the art of painting on panels.
The roots of modern encaustic painting go back to the 18th century when antiquarians, excited by the archeological discovery of the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, strove to rediscover the techniques of the ancient painters. In the first half of the 20th century, the invention of portable electric heating implements made encaustic painting a far less formidable technique. Numerous artists were drawn to experiment with it and apply it to their individual styles.
This contemporary encaustic exhibit features images that focus on personal narratives, visual poetry, evocative color, and mark-making. Other pieces explore ideas of meditation on the seemingly minute details of the self. Inspiration is found in the remnants of everyday life, such as discarded clothing and passing reflections. Others items chronicle family history and incorporate photographs of ancestors. This body of work is a visual narration of telling stories through artistic mediums including photography, digital image making, mixed media, and painting.
Artists included in this exhibit: