Tip of the Week

Reviewed by Michael Bulka in NEW CITY Magazine
2.22.2001

Waxworks 2: Encaustic Painting Today
Gwenda Jay / Addington Gallery, Chicago, IL

Encaustic is a fascinating and under-used medium. Pigmented wax can have the look of oil paint, develop rich, thick, plastic textures, or achieve a warm glowing depth like no other technique. It is unusual for a commercial gallery director to also be an active, exhibiting artist, but Dan Addington is an encaustic painter and has assembled six of his waxy colleagues from around the country in a show of individually interesting pieces that demonstrate the range of the medium. Addington's own work is dark and romantic; he responds to the visceral, organic nature of beeswax by incorporating another primordial material, tar, to render images of stone memorial sculpture in an unusually warm tone.

Lynda Ray exploits tactile seductiveness in another way. Metal sheets are covered with an uneven, dark ground that bears a thick scattering of small white wax-extrusions, melted and dripped into very handsome abstract panels. Amanda Crandall's landscapes are tiny, palm-sized objects, as thick as they are tall. Dramatically different from some of the meaty, gestural work here, they are delicately painted and beautifully finished. Unremarkable, postcard-quality views, but with colors having a magical glow, they are enchanting bits of wall jewelry.

Pictured: Dan Addington, "Mind of Science, Eye of God" 14x11, oil, wax, tar on wood
-- Michael Bulka


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