Luminous landcapes coming to LynnArts

LYNN – Imagine adding hot wax to an oil painting, either with a brush or metal tool, so that the work takes on a luminescent quality, almost as though it’s three-dimensional.The technique is called encaustic painting, and it can be traced to the Fayum mummy portraits of ancient Egypt, but more recent efforts are part of a new exhibit at LynnArts entitled “Luminous Landscape.”The show, in the Time Warner gallery at LynnArts, 25 Exchange St. in Central Square, runs from March 18 to April 18. It features encaustic artists Lindsay Bentis, Linda Cordner, Janet Bartlett Goodman, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Julie Shaw Lutts, and Charyl Weissbach. Cordner, Goodman and Weissbach are also the show curators.”Landscape art traditionally depicts scenery in a realistic presentation that can sometimes minimize the subtleties and ethereal qualities we often experience in real life,” said Susan Halter, LynnArts director. “When the landscape is depicted using a technique known as encaustic, the melted wax fused with pigment naturally interacts with light, creating a luminosity easily perceived, particularly in a familiar setting such as the landscape.”Encaustic art has witnessed a resurgence since the 1990s and typically involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface – usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. Metal tools and speical can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Artists today also use lamps and heat guns.”The use of hot wax, with its translucent and transcendental properties, is uniquely able to convey nature’s vastness and its mysterious allure, creating an illusion of timelessness, a virtual reality landscape,” said Halter, adding that the artists hope the images “will serve as a poignant and compelling reminder of the need to preserve our landscapes in the face of our misguided breach of the sensitive balance between man and his environment.”As Halter explained, Bentis’s paintings “are an exploration of the dichotomy between the beauty and ugliness of our natural world. She is intrigued with the many pieces that make up the landscape rather than the whole vast space.”Cordner, meanwhile, “is drawn to certain color schemes and shapes. Repetition and placement is very important to her. She layers using multiple coats of wax, which is obscured by the under layers. At times she scrapes away areas of the wax to expose the dynamic compositions below.”Goodman, the artist, “doesn’t believe that the process of making art should be easy and we see this in her grand forest paintings. Her landscapes are ongoing patterns of nature’s forest, which speak of mystery and grandeur. She sometimes incorporates gold leaf in her work, which magically transforms her paintings into regal depictions,” Halter said.Lutts employs hot wax “to protect her multifaceted collages that convey her inspiration for even the smallest elements of nature. She has the unique ability to weave ideas into a mosaic that completely interconnect the various formulations found in our natural world.”According to Halter, Krause is a painter and collage-maker focused on both traditional and digital mixed media. “Her encaustic landscapes have an unusual surreal quality that captivates the viewer, and deepens our appreciation for the grandeur of nature’s pristine quality. Her ability to merge luminous light and color to evoke a panoramic 3-dimensional framework is truly extraordinary,” the gallery director said.Weissbach’s paintings are a combination of drawing, abstraction and impressionism.”Her use of Belgian linen forms the basis for her encaustic paintings and is revealed through layers of tinted wax that create the illusion of timelessness, and expansiveness. Her paintings are tranquil, atmospheric and luminous,” Halter said.

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