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The Julia Set: From all Angles by Julia Ris

On Display: July 12, 2013 – September 12, 2013

Artist Reception Friday July 12, 2013 5-7pm 5-7pm
Fermilab Art Gallery, Wilson Hall

Artist Statement

More and more over the years I find myself drawn to the complexity and surprise of what lies beneath the surface. I build the layers. I savor the evolution. I value surprise, little imperfections, subtlety and the patina of experience and time. I'm compelled to scratch through to expose what is alluded to or hidden.

Though I love painting in oil, the immediacy of the encaustic medium has a huge appeal and allows me to layer, scratch through and build up surfaces. Wielding a blowtorch to fuse the layers of wax adds to the thrill.

Some of my work appears structured and other work more organic. I'm drawn to construction cranes, buildings and urban sites that provide a jumping off point for the initial direction of a painting. In much of my work there's a sense of peering through. Often there comes a time in my paintings when, like life in general, I dip into chaos and feel the need to impose a sense of structure or control.

About Encaustic

The word encaustic is of Greek origin and means "to burn in" which refers to the process of fusing paint. Encaustic is a beeswax-based paint that is melted on a heated palette, applied to a surface and reheated by fusing layers together with a heat gun, iron or torch. I generally make my own encaustic paint from high-grade beeswax and damar resin, adding oil pigment to color the wax. It also may be purchased from art stores in color blocks.

In the 5th Century BC, encaustic was primarily used to paint portraits and scenes of mythology. It was later used to weatherproof ships; then they began to pigment the wax and use it to decorate warships. Encaustic was used for the Fayum funeral portraits that were painted in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. by Greek painters in Egypt. As a memorial, a portrait of the deceased was painted over the person's mummy. Many of these pieces have stood the test of time and still maintain their vibrant color to this day.

20th century artists Jasper John, Karl Zerbe, Julian Schnabel and others helped to bring back the once forgotten medium. Many artists today find the durability, versatility and fast drying capabilities of the medium appealing.

To see more of Julie's artwork


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last modified 7/1/2013   

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