Sunday, December 31, 2017

Contextual

Curated Feature
By Deborah Winiarski

Dan Addington

Works of art that incorporate the use of text walk a tightrope between language and visual imagery. When used as a formal element, the written word can serve to clarify and enhance a visual artist’s statement. Or, as in the case of ‘word art,’ the message carried by the text is an indestructible and undeniable element of content. Here, the word content is crucial to statement. 

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Language is a powerful tool. Artists who thoughtfully use text to enhance statement and draw out emotion understand that power. As our lives become ever more digitalized, the beauty of the printed page and the written word has persevered. The artists here use letters, words, and the book form as a vehicle for their creative expression.



Kim Henigman Bruce



Kim Henigman Bruce, Part Three, 2015; encaustic, chain, jute on a book; 5 x 4.5 x 3.5 inches

“The term pocketbookwhich is also the name of the series to which this piece belongs, came into use in the 1600s. Originally it was a small foldable item that snapped shut and was thought of as a safe way to carry and possibly conceal bills and coins. It was carried in one's pocket or purse. Over time pocketbook became a synonym of purse. Transforming books into pocketbooks emphasizes how priceless books and education are.”

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Gwendolyn Plunkett


Gwendolyn Plunkett, Page 33 / Booked Series, 2011; repurposed book pages, india ink, oil, encaustic on panel; 12 x 9 inches

“This series evolved from my interest in body language, specifically literary tattoos, and a desire to create a visual book. Drawings in combination with book pages, soaked, layered and made translucent with beeswax, create tactile skin-like surfaces. The result, a physical language translated into the idiom of the bound volume.”

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Miles Conrad


Miles Conrad, Change Your Life in 30 Days, 2017; wax, repurposed fabric, and book; 4 x 9 x 6 inches 
Photo: Conrad Wilde Gallery

“In Self Help, I construct disembodied, abject phalluses made from wax, hair, clothing, debris, and soap, and juxtapose them with discarded books from pop psychology, get-rich-quick guides and business management texts. These are intended to complicate given notions of masculine gender identity, sexual normativity and cultural power.”

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Rachel Friedberg


Rachel Friedberg, The Bird, 1982, encaustic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches. Photo: Stan Lichens

“The sculpted blackbird perched on the yellow box is the guardian of the secrets buried in the luminous black interior behind the drapes.  The repetitive crayon words the bird, the bird do not illuminate the eternal secrets, so they are crossed out. ”

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Nancy Natale


Nancy Natale, Red Blast, 2017, found and invented materials with encaustic and tacks, 24 x 24 inches

“Horizontal slices of album covers, books and painted papers combine in a geometric grid of color and marks in my Running Stitch series.  Upside-down text teases the viewer in blocks outlined with encaustic.  All those tacks may represent stitches or musical notes in a rhythmic, vertical pattern holding it all together.”

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Dan Addington


Dan Addington, Drawing Conclusions, 2016; encaustic, graphite, and oil on found book; 6 x 9 inches



Dan Addington, Drawing Conclusions (side view)

“My book series was intended as a break from my larger work, and is informed by our intimate relationship with books. They may eventually incorporate wax, but they all begin with a graphite drawing on a smooth marble dust surface.  Some remain as drawings, others become layered mixed media works. All are surprises to me.”


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Cecile Chong


Cecile Chong, Special Delivery, 2015, encaustic and mixed media on wood, 20 inches diameter

A multimedia artist working in painting, sculpture and installation, Chong addresses ideas of culture interaction and interpretation, as well as the commonalities humans share both in our relationship to nature and to each other.


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Alexandre Masino


Alexandre Masino, L’ ├ęcume du temps (Ehon), 2015; encaustic, charcoal, and antique nails on book on panel; 17 x 28.5 inches



Alexandre Masino, L’ ├ęcume du temps (Ehon), (side view)

Ehon, the title of my series of mounted books, is a Japanese word that means picture book. The pages of the sketchbooks are embedded in wax, transforming them into objects of mystery where only one layer is visible but where the accumulation of previous state is primordial to the global meaning and effect.”

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Tracy Spadafora


Tracy Spadafora, Intervention (Part 4), 2017, encaustic and mixed media on braced wood panel, 20 x 20 inches

“My DNA Series addresses issues of environmental concern. I use DNA sequences (text) to provide visual patterning and symbolic reference. Images and organic material are combined with the text to suggest a complex and shifting relationship between humans, their biological roots, and the shaping of our natural environment.”


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Patricia Dusman


Patricia Dusman, Only Words (Greys), 2016, encaustic on panel,16 x 16 inches

“I write my innermost thoughts into the wax as if scribing on ancient tablets and often repeat it until legibility gives way to pattern. The words become hidden and buried much like our own thoughts and memories that are jumbled deep in our brains.”


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