Working in Wax

May 3 - June 21, 2009

Encaustic-Working in Wax (1)
Encaustic-Working in Wax (2)
Encaustic-Working in Wax (4)
Encaustic-Working in Wax (3)

Working In Wax

May 3 - June 21, 2009

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The surface can be polished to a high gloss, it can be modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with collage materials. This material was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 CE, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century American artists, including Jasper Johns. This national juried exhibition will feature some of the most renowned artists working in this medium today and will provide an arena for educating other artists and students about the past and possibilities of working in wax.

The exhibition is juried by encaustic artist and curator Eileen P. Goldenberg. Eileen is a regular speaker at the National Encaustic Conference and is the immediate past President of International Encaustic Artists.

She recently curated Tangible Wax: Contemporary Works in Encaustics, opening in 2009, in Chicago and has juried many shows for the American Craft Council.

In conjunction with the juried show, Bedford Gallery will also be presenting the work of Bay Area wax artist Maria Porges, who is know for her evocative sculpture in a range of different media as well as for her work as a writer and critic. Her art has been exhibited nationally and is included in important private and museum collections. 

Bay Area artist Maria Porges is known for her evocative sculpture in a range of different media as well as for her work as a writer and critic. Her art has been exhibited nationally and is included in important private and museum collections. Concurrent with Bedford gallery’s juried exhibition Working in Wax, an exhibition covering fifteen years of Porges’ encaustic sculptures will be on view in the Alcove gallery.

Porges’ work is often about the relationship between the object and language. She is interested in what happens when words and things get together. For several years she made pieces from found materials (books, tools, architectural fragments). She then began to use more conventional sculpture mediums like glass, metal, wood, clay and wax. Her latest work reprises some materials and ideas from her past in a combination of modeled and found elements.

Books—the containers of things—represent knowledge, while hair—a symbol of disorder, excess, and fashion—plays the role of intuition. Both are aspects of parenting, something Porges balances with her career everyday. Her two young daughters are portrayed in a series of pieces with titles like “Screamers” and “Laughers”. A group of sculpted children’s heads, their expressions and proportions developed out of digitally altered photographs, evokes the meeting place between cuteness and the grotesque.