From March 31, through April 30, the Carroll House Art Gallery will be featuring the Encaustic Art 2 exhibit, which includes the work of three New England artists – Marsha Hewitt, Earl Schofield and Gregory Wright – in the encaustic style.
According to a press-release sent by Keene State College’s Art Department Faculty Member Mary Haenichen, encaustic paintings are an intricate medium that has been practiced since 2,000 years ago when the technique was used for the Fayum tomb portraits in ancient Egypt.
“The paint itself is made with powdered pigment combined with beeswax and Damar resin. The paint can only be applied after it is heated to a molten state. Once the paint cools, it hardens and can accept more paint layers or is finished,” Haenichen said.
KSC Sophomore and Gallery Employee Chelsea Birchmore said that she has seen many of the exhibits in the gallery, but none of them are quite comparable.
“It’s not like your traditional paintings where it is only two dimensional; these pieces are 3D so it kind of pops out at you which makes it unique,” Birchmore said.
According to Birchmore, having access to exhibits like this is beneficial to the KSC community.
“I think it just helps people get inspired for their own work; and if they aren’t artists, then they’re able to see really cool work from people in our area,” Birchmore said.
Dedicated patrons of local artists Patrice and Gary Pinette said they were driving through town on unrelated errands when they heard about the exhibit from a friend who referred them to it after the couple inquired about possible activities in the area.
“We were coming to Keene to shop at the Monadnock [Food] Co-Op and we thought we’d like to do something else so we decided on this and, since we both like the encaustic medium and we found out it was an encaustic exhibit, we both thought it kind of made sense to come here,” Gary Pinette said.
According to Patrice and Gary Pinette, they were first introduced to the encaustic medium by a friend and local Jaffrey artist, who exposed them to the radiance that the multiple layers of wax creates and how it brightens up the pieces in a unique manner.
“The work itself is just so luminous – the wax brings such a lightness to it; it’s just the texture and how thick it was applied so it’s like you’re looking at a painting but it has a sculptural element as well, it’s just really something,” Patrice Pinette said.
With a deep-rooted appreciation for local art and discovering new artists, attending an exhibit like this was unequivocally the correct choice for Patrice Pinette, who said she had a personal connection with the work of Schofield when she discovered a piece that consisted of a familiar view.
“The most memorable paintings for me are the ones of Dublin Lake. For a while I was teaching and tutoring at the Monadnock Boulder High School in Keene and I would drive by Dublin Lake everyday from Wilton,” Patrice Pinette said.
Patrice Pinette said she not only appreciated the familiarity in his work, but also the amazing feeling of being able to see one’s own viewpoint transformed through art.
“There’s something about the wax and encaustic layers that’s just amazing for movement; to do water and clouds with the wax is so effective and it’s like you really are seeing another kind of energy. I know great paintings are supposed to convey a sense of movement, but the wax conveys it in such a wonderful way,” Patrice Pinette said.
Aside from the pieces appeal of locality, Gary Pinette said he believes that appreciating the work of local artists is crucial to the human experience.
“It makes me think of Nietzsche, who said ‘We do art so we don’t die of reality.’ I think art is so interesting and I’m personally drawn to it, so I can have other experiences and a really good artist, I think, can create art that makes someone have a profound experience,” Gary Pinette said.
Gary Pinette said it was really nice that KSC hosted the work of these artists and that he enjoyed the opportunity of being able to see some amazing things by local people.
Amanda Lashua can be contacted at email@example.com