While my advanced encaustic class at Arrowmont was outside doing their morning drawing exercises, I noticed these amazing colorations on the kiln just outside of my classroom. I became totally obsessed with capturing the subtle changes, exciting contrasts and marks on and between the bricks as well as the placement of the gridded pattern and some of the interesting sculptural moments. I see something different in each image.
Part 2 of my dune hike inspiration is also focused on Herring Cove Beach where the parking lot is slowly sinking into the sea. I have no idea what happened here, but it was probably the result of protective dunes being washed away by a storm. It was a cloudy day with strong wind and currents, which made the sea look even angrier and the asphalt appear malleable and as black as lava. The contrast of the lead gray sky, dark water, white foam and black asphalt is truly brilliant, not to mention the painted white parking outline and the bright yellow barriers which added a touch of reality to a seriously surreal scene. It’s devastating to look at, but there is true beauty in this vulnerability and in the intense power of nature.
Last week I was in gorgeous Provincetown, Cape Cod for the 10th International Encaustic Conference. I had three whole days to kill between the conference festivities and the post conference workshop I was teaching, so I went on a 6 mile hike adventure in the dunes by Herring Cove Beach.
When I hike, I take pictures with my phone of anything that strikes me, usually landscape-y kinds of things. But on this trip, there were two areas that stuck with me that I couldn’t stop photographing.
The first were these little found drawings of rose petals (roses grow wild on Cape Cod) and other natural detritus. As I walked, I was struck by how interestingly balanced were the compositions and materials in these little vignettes and all of them naturally shaped by the wind. All of the images shown here are exactly how I found them, I didn’t change them in any way. They will likely somehow find their way into paintings.
Stay tuned for next week’s post for the second group of images.
Painting and fiber, two disciplines whose marriage has always intrigued and inspired me throughout the evolution of my work. Over the 15+ years since graduate school, I have completed several series of work, all of which borrow and combine aspects of both disciplines. However, each series leans either to the fiber or painting end, but never fully captures the essence of either discipline.
For this reason, I am fascinated when I come across artists whose work fully exhibits the perfect balance of material, materiality, color, tactility, surface, pattern and process that encapsulates the two disciplines of fiber and painting. I must mention that there are many artists who work within these boundaries and without listing them-there are so many-I am inspired by them all. However, it was difficult to find artists amongst this group whose work possessed a blending, rather than a combination between the materials, process and techniques used, a seamlessness, a perfect balance, a sensitivity, a symbiosis that is almost intangible and cannot easily be put into words. I have chosen three artists whose work stands out and characterizes these qualities .
I have always been a fan of Margery Amdur’s work and first came across it when she was working with layers of painted, hand cut mylar in wonderful diagrammatic floral patterns that resembled the preparatory acetates and paintings I used to do when I was a textile and rug designer. In her layered paintings, there is a painterly quality in which the materials, process and content effortlessly support one other. Her latest work applying paint, pastel, ink and silkscreen on cosmetic sponges takes painting to a whole new level. Some may categorize these pieces as sculpture, but the use of materials, repetition, tactility, process, technique and structural pattern all speak to textiles. The reference to flowers, the garden, layers and the mark of the hand is also evident.
Julia Bland’s work is what sparked the writing of this post as it imbues the perfect blend of fiber and painting I describe above. Bland’s work is founded in weaving and craft based traditions and her stem from her interest in religious and cultural patterns. Working hand in hand with the repetitive process of weaving, she adds, subtracts, cuts, glues, sews and paints elements into her large scale wall hangings. Hand worked details, knots, stitched and painted areas are added after the weaving takes place making piece exciting and interesting both up close and at a distance.
At first glance, Gabriel Luis Perez’s work may just look like mixed media paintings. However, what I see in these richly layered surfaces are references to quilting, applique, weaving, sewing, embellishment, pattern-making, design and repetitive process all densely integrated with painted pop imagery, text and collaged elements. Of his work he writes, “It is important to me that all my pieces inherit an energy; sometimes that energy is one produced during its performance and at other times it is a conjured from past or future experiences.” They do have an energy and I totally get it.
I discovered Juliette Elisa Bataille’s work by accident while googling contemporary embroidery. Interestingly enough, Bataille’s work is NOT contemporary, which is what interests me the most about it.
Juliette Elisa Bataille was born in 1896 in Pas-de-Calais, France, married in 1917 to an abusive husband and in her 40’s began to exhibit symptoms of mental distress. She was eventually institutionalized where she began creating expressive pastel drawings and these wonderful embroideries. Her emotionally charged stitched lines are placed with finality, and a determined self-assuredness. Incredibly, she only produced these works during a three year period (roughly, 1948-1951) making the few documented pieces still in existence that much more remarkable.
Read more about her and see more work here.