The juried exhibition The Whole Ball of Wax includes thirty-seven works by thirty-four artists, all of whom integrate the luminous and malleable medium of encaustic into their creations. Despite the variety of media, including canvas, panel, and paper, as well as the abundance of different styles exhibited here, juror Joanne Mattera explains that the show coheres around several major themes: the body, growth, color, geometry, and repetition. For instance, the sculpture Coal Feet by Laurel Sears Rush integrates wax, handmade paper, fiber, and coal to fashion a surreally suspended pair of feet and ankles, encumbered by a skein of threads weighted with chunks of coal. Images of seeds, roots, circular shapes, and blooming and sprouting forms contribute to the theme of growth- vegetative, physical, and spiritual. For example, Junko Iijima’s beeswax and paraffin sculptural installation Object Study manages to suggest with a simple lyricism, seeds, cells, eggs, and dividing atoms. A mastery of color, clarity, and geometric form also characterize many of the works in the show. Mari Marks’ multimedia four part work Sediments and Circles exemplifies the exhibition’s incorporation of works of powerful simplicity. Marks mingles beeswax, pigment, ashes, and graphite to produce a remarkable lush and evocative set of circular/spherical forms which encourages the viewer to make associations with the cycle of blossoming and decay.
Exhibiting Artists: Sasha Dela Anderson, Nancy Azara, Francesca Azzara, Kim Bartelt, Bellavia, Karen Benson, Angela Berkson, Laurel Garcia Colvin, Jill Douglas, Tamara El-Aasser, Barbara Ellmann, Mary Farmer, Cynthia Handel, Susan Lazar Hart, Carter Hubbard, Junko Iijima, Vaughnda Johnson, Olivia Koopalethes, Maria Pietri Lalor, Nancy Macko, Michelle Marcuse, Mari Marks, Nina B. Marshall, Mary Ellen McKeen, Lisa Ostapinski, Lynda Ray, Nola Richards, Paula Roland, Laurel Sears Rush, Denise K. Seider, Susan Sheedy, Liz Tran, Mona Waterhouse, Cynthia Winika, Donna Zarbin-Byrne.
Juror: Joanne Mattera
Joanne Mattera specializes in encaustic, showing her work in solo and group shows in the United States and abroad. Her published book, The Art of Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax (Watson-Guptill, 2001) has become the standard reference on the subject. Joanne Mattera divides her time between New York City and Salem, Massachusetts. Mattera’s artwork can be viewed on her website: http://www.joannemattera.com
(Banner image: artwork by Jill Douglas)