October 28 – November 8, 2009
I approach art-making intuitively, following my inclination into new territory with each piece telling me where it needs to go. The route can be effortless or challenging – either way I am pulled along, fascinated by the process.
My upcoming solo exhibit, everESSENCE, at the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts reflects on the last decade of art-making, connecting to each series that I’ve worked on during that time. This new work reflects the differences and also the common threads that run between each piece and every series. The art ranges from three-dimensional assemblage and nest pieces, to the tw0-dimensional confines of a grid or trees transferred into the wax. This takes the viewer on a diverse journey through my creative process. The essence of each piece resonates with the body of work, creating a whole.
I fell in love with encaustic several years ago, using beeswax hardened with damar resin and mixed with oil paint. This luscious, engaging medium fits for me, as it allows for a dialogue to take place between myself and the wax. This ‘back and forth’ nature of painting with wax opens me to the mystery of what cannot be known – but only glimpsed at. I let go of attachment which for me is an on-going loosening of expectation.
‘Holding loosely’ is a theme that inspires much of my work. It allows for a spontaneous response to what happens during the process, drips can be fused into the piece, or gouged off, ‘mistakes’ lead to new ways of pushing the medium. I have created different series that incorporate found objects, clothing/fabric, birds’ nests, prayer flags, roots (organic materials), original photo transfers of trees – and each is connected to the source inspiration of ‘holding loosely’. It is an on-going learning for me to let go, to fall without fear.
Encaustic, by its nature, is made up of layers – and I incorporate collage elements in the wax, sometimes revealed, sometimes not. I use a blow torch, heat gun and iron when fusing each piece, creating a richly textured depth. This vibrant, translucent surface (often with a loose grid in the composition) pulls viewers close. People tell me that each time they look closely at a painting, there is something new to discover. Building up layers, and gouging down to reveal what is below creates an opportunity for the unexpected to reveal itself. The unfolding of mystery reveals the inherent beauty in the piece. This is what pulls me forward, leads me into the unknown, embracing and/or grappling with whatever comes up.Andrea Bird