Ephemerarium

life under glass

Posts Tagged ‘encaustic

Medieval Nightmares

Medieval Nightmares (2016), 13.5×20″ each, encaustic collage on paper.

This series is made from individual folio pages from the book European Brasses by A.C. Bouquet and Michael Waring, published by Frederick Praeger Publishers in 1967. Brasses are funerary or memorial effigies made by incising portrait images into a large sheet of metal made from a combination of cooper and zinc (called latten). They were popular from the 11th – 14th centuries in Northern central Europe, especially Flanders, Germany and France.

The brasses were permanently installed in churches and mausoleums and feature a variety of personages (vicars, church patrons, wealthy merchants, etc. and their families). I have combined these memorials that sought to assure glory for the afterlife with images of planets and solar system in a sort of mash-up of old and new cosmos.

Three of these nasties so far. All feature critters with whom you would not want to share your bed.

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July 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm

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Mars, mein lieben

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War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost.

Karl Kraus, Die Fackel, Oct. 19, 1917

Mars, mein lieben (2014) is an encaustic pentaptych with embedded collage and image transfer. Here I have used maps of the planet Mars with re-purposed images from Hilter youth propaganda to reflect on the duplicitous romanticism of war. 25 x 68 inches total.

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January 4, 2015 at 8:16 pm

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Mirror Madonna

Mirror Madonna (2011) 11×22″. Photo emulsion, pigment, and silver leaf on wax.

On my first trip to Turkey (1990), I collected various ephemera (newspaper clippings, phone cards, ticket stubs, coupons, receipts) during the course of travel.

Part of this impulse was fueled by the need to learn Turkish:  I figured that those little snippets of everyday life contained critical little snippets of everyday vocabulary! Another factor was the laden beauty of the things. At the time, phone cards were adorned with images of miniature paintings, Ottoman calligraphy, and other magnificent artifacts of Turkish history. I still have a fat envelope of favorites.

The photograph for the Mirror Madonna came from the newspaper Cumhuriyet. It was a bit mind-bending to look at a Turkish newspaper because every issue was full of examples epitomizing the hypocritical mainstream Turkish representation of women. A busty peroxide blond in German lederhosen (sort of, but less) invites you to visit the newest luxury condominium, or a blond Bunny in harem pants waits for your call on your new cell phone.

But Turkish women themselves–the majority of whom are neither blond nor comfortable being naked in public– were almost always victimized in some way. The mother of an imprisoned son. The daughters whose father ran away with a Danish tourist. Women kicked out of the Academy of Sciences for wearing a veil. Granted, I could only “read” the newspaper in an extremely limited way, but I understood those images of  Turkish women carried a double burden: victimized and exalted.

This particular image came from an article about a mining explosion in which several miners were killed. It is a portrait of a miner’s wife–now widowed–with her baby boy. Her expression–her longing and resignation–is timeless.

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April 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

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Flemish collars

Chaperone (2010) 16×16 inches.  Encaustic and collage on board.

Chaperone is a composite of three individual portraits collaged together into a single panel and sealed in pigmented encaustic wax. The two adults are Rogier Clarisse and his wife,  Sara Breyll,  painted by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) in 1611. Although Rubens painted these as separate portraits, I thought I’d put a spark into their union by allowing Sara’s hand to clasp Rogier’s. He looked to me like he needed a bit of affection.

The third portrait is an unnamed young “Lady” painted by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)  around 1620. I am not sure what it is about her expression exactly–mild embarrassment or self-consciousness perhaps–that made me think of the way children can be very conscious of their parents showing affection for each other.

But mostly, Chaperone is a composition of three Flemish ruffs, or starched collars, which I find amazing. Historically, ruffs were worn to convey social  status as they were very difficult to maintain. Rather than the frilly collar that was sewn into the neckline of a dress or doublet, the ruff kept the dress or doublet from being soiled by beard hairs, fibers, hat feathers, face powder, rouge,  dandruff, or whatever.

Visually, ruffs convey a sense of severity. The Flemish were both ruff fanatics and socially liberal-minded, so whatever rigidity I read into the ruff may be entirely misplaced.

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November 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

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Illuminated miniature

This small piece, Manuscript I (2010) is made from silver leaf, wax, and collage. The tiny page from the Koran is a found object–no kidding. I found 2 loose pages on the sidewalk in San Francisco about 17 years ago. It was right around the time I was taking my first Arabic class from Nabilah Shehadeh at San Francisco State University. I was flabbergasted to find these pages (1  1/2 x 1 5/8 inches)  laying on the pavement like dry autumn leaves and have kept them in my wallet all these years.

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August 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm

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Three Domestic Madonnas

These are 3 very small encaustic collages in a series called Domestic Madonnas. Each one is 5.25 X 7 inches on wood (2010).  The source images are from a catalog of early Flemish and Italian painters from the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts. It was in the $1. bin at the Salvation Army Book Shop in downtown Eugene. The Flemish school makes me swoon.

As for the Madonna designation: I have described her very inclusively in the series. In fact, she is motherhood in all its domestic beatitude. The history of art is brimming with hundreds of images of Madonna and child: severe, luminous, and always somewhat downcast. She symbolizes both submission and fortitude. On the contrary, the Domestic Madonnas reflect playfulness, irony, boredom and other quotidian realities of motherhood. I mean, wasn’t  Mary the mother of a teenager, too?

About the encaustic medium: my friend Sarah Grew is an artist who works a lot with encaustic. I took a workshop with Sarah last summer and have been integrating wax into some of my collage work. I’ll post more examples of these projects next.

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March 5, 2010 at 8:34 am

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