Showing posts with label Tesserae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tesserae. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2012

Challenges are a Good Thing

Tendency of Thought (18"x18", encaustic, cheesecloth)

A number of months ago I looked at a call that I wanted to apply to and saw that it specified “Only 2D” submissions. Now given that I have focused on 3D work over the last year or so, I thought this was a nice little challenge. Challenges are a good thing. They encourage us to experiment and they test our willingness to step out of our comfort zone. Sometimes these challenges emerge as mere questions; how can I hang this sculpture on the wall, how can I use this material differently, how can I convey this idea? A good number of these deliberations remain ‘on the back burner’, so to speak, waiting for that spark of inspiration. Sometimes that spark happens right away. I see something new that hints at an answer, or look at the problem in a whole new way. Sometimes it’s just that infamous 'happy accident'.

With this submission challenge, I knew that I wanted to incorporate both encaustic and cheesecloth, the two mediums I use in all of my 3D work, now the question was how.

In my last blog post I talked about the little encaustic and cheesecloth cubes that made up my piece Moving Day. Well, one day while I was making some of these little boxes, I decided to remove some of the sections of the painted cloth cube forms in an attempt to alter their shapes. While I worked, I absentmindedly placed the resulting small rectangular pieces onto a small board.

As the number of these small rectangular shapes increased, the beginnings of an image appeared- a decidedly accidental image! I loved the feeling of flow that came from the formal repetition and the resulting sense of rhythm in the pattern and texture. This needed further examination and so I set my cubes aside and began to paint large sections of cheesecloth and proceeded to cut them into MANY small rectangular shapes. Once again, as with my Tesserae Series, I found myself reformulating the harmonious whole into smaller elements, giving it new order. In my Tesserae series, I make encaustic tiles by creating many similar multi-layered encaustic paintings, systematically strip the painting from its wooden substrate into narrow ribbons and cut these ribbons into tiles which make up the final painting.

Tesserae VIII (18"x18", encaustic tiles)

Tesserae X detail (18"x18", encaustic tiles)

Does this mean that I have the secret desire to redesign my make, out of fragments, symbols of incompleteness, something that is complete and whole!?!

Tendency of Thought detail (18"x18", encaustic, cheesecloth)

Tendency of Thought, seen at the top of this post, is the result of this ‘happy accident”. It has been included in Hot Wax in the City at Morpho Gallery in Chicago and in Evans Encaustic online show Patterning in Painting. It will be included in the Chicago Artists Month exhibit The Buzz this October in Gallery 303 at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Process of Making a New Sculpture

I always find it to be wonderfully thought-provoking to learn the whats, the whys and the hows about a particular piece or about a body of work. Understanding an artist’s process can be incredibly fascinating and telling. I am a very process oriented artist and this is evident in many of my series including my encaustic Urban Windows series, my encaustic tile Tesserae series and most recently in my encaustic and fiber vessels and sculptures. Last month I began a new encaustic and fiber sculpture and I thought that it might be interesting to document the making of this new piece.

Window no. 34 (6.75"x6.75",encaustic)

Tesserae X (18"x18", encaustic tiles)

Since I made my first encaustic and fiber Vessel in 2011, each work was created in a purely intuitive manner. As my designs became larger and more complex I began to create models. Coming Together began as a drawing and from this drawing I made a paper model.

By creating this model I was able to determine that in order to get the result that I wanted I would need to begin with a shape that was 9 feet long! So equipped with this daunting information, I began by cutting out strips of cheesecloth. Once I made the decision as to the general color palette I wanted this piece to have I painted the many fiber strips with encaustic paint. I mix the colors for each strip separately ensuring an interesting and complex finished look.

The strips are then folded and woven and given a layer or two of clear encaustic medium all of which give the piece additional strength. At this point the work is given a wire armature which allows for support. Using pottery tools, the entire piece is hemmed and the shape of the sculpture is formed.

Coming Together (9”x12”x13”, encaustic, cheesecloth, wire)