ProWax Journal 2: Featured Artworks

The Materiality of the Work

Elise Wagner:

Enter Payne’s Grey. I navigate my pieces somewhat blindly in both tone and intention. I approach them gesturally, as if I am making a collagraph, relying mainly on the alchemy in the materials themselves to begin forming a dialogue. The territory I lay down emerges slowly and randomly. When the color enters the picture, it adds something opposite and reveals everything that was invisible to me before. It is truly magical every time.

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Wayne Montecalvo:

Artwork can dictate materials, but sometimes materials inform the artwork. What interests me is the give and take that results from engaging with materials and how the materials respond. Since my work involves people, I think of the the subjects, or models, as an important material component of my work. They are real people who bring a particular story or energy to my pieces. I seek them out the same way other artists look for ‘found objects’ to include in their work. A smaller piece can be more intimate than a larger piece, especially when based on a real person, so scale can help determine material choices as well. My work uses color separation process, combining printed layers. The order of the color layering is important to the output, and that process also depends on material. Variation is inherent in the methods I choose no matter how planned out the process.

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Tracey Adams:

This week I finished six small collages, grabbing time away from other projects in order to partake in the pleasure derived from collage work. I never intend to sell these. Like keeping a journal, these are for me. They represent sheer play and experimentation with materials as well as time when there’s nothing at stake in terms of cost. Everything that goes into the making of the collages comes from piles of discarded materials that sit in boxes in my studio: drypoint and softground etchings, encaustic monotypes and handmade papers made long ago. Many of these materials date from as far back as 15 years, yet I still get excited every time I sift through the boxes and start putting these disparate fragments together. I guess what I love most is that I never know where I’m going or what a collage will look like until it’s finished.

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Christine Shannon Aaron:

As I become increasingly aware of what it is I want to convey and express in my work, the materials I choose go hand in hand with that intent. My recent bodies of work address the passage of time, weathering of emotion and memory, and how the experience of memory also shifts as time passes. With mirrors, the image shifts and changes as viewer changes position; metal ages and oxidizes into part of the finished piece; encaustic allows layers, excavation and obscuring of parts. I have found that by linking material and imagery to the ideas and intentions behind my work, my work is strengthened.

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Bonny Leibowitz:

About a year and a half ago I began collecting materials I found seductive, inviting, repulsive, humorous and surprising without expectation, without a plan, only a sheer love for form and surface. I began to see the connections in the collected items. Initially, I started a piece with a plaster form but I saw the need to destroy the form in part, allowing the wire structure within to be exposed. The forms began to take on human qualities and personas. I then supported the rough, worn, exposed natural elements with other organic materials such as torn cheesecloth, mulberry bark, branches and rawhide. Archetypal inferences began to appear for me: “The Diva,” “The Temptress” and “Love Muffin…,” to name a few. Out came the foam, faux fur, sheep fur, bed springs, rubber and vinyl in a balancing act of seriousness and play, comfort and tension, safety and fear. I now trust the materials will spark intention and the intentions will be beautifully dictated by materiality.

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Kenise Barnes will be the keynote speaker at the 8th International Encaustic Conference. In her keynote talk, Barnes will address materiality from a gallerist’s perspective. She represents artists working in a range of mediums and has curated exhibitions in which material and method have a strong presence–whether in fiber, metal, wood or wax.

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