Mary Long

“Tactile texture and luscious surfaces combine transparency and opacity in layers that encourage exploration and discovery. This is the essence of Mary Long’s encaustic work. Using the oldest form of painting in the world, pigmented wax on panel creates a mesmerizing sheath which covers raw wood and allows oil and wax to seep in. Appreciate the extremely labor intensive layer over layer of stratum, pale color over paler colors built up to the intensity and saturation of the final hue. This is not paint from a tube; this is chemistry, heat, engineering and performance cumulating into artwork. Appreciate the challenging process of work, to accurately paint the strokes quickly before the temperature of the wax renders its form useless. The pressure of spontaneity and improvisation is a ruse, the work is precision and expert timing. For over fifteen years, the subjects and design change from recognizable elements to qualities of landscape forms that include hints of textile patterning. The quality of the line is strong, bold, and often black, yet, distinctly feminine. This is heavy, literally, a thick creation coaxed from the nothingness of a panel of birch and translucent wax tinted at her discretion. At times bright and sometimes solemn, the colors can be seductive and move you to the lines and energy of the design. The works appeal to that within us which is carefree, subversively built on method and exactness. The encaustic technique rebirthed in the 20th century and, with the advancement of technology, we return and desire the ancient labor, the witnessing of the artist’s hand and the meticulousness of the skill. ”

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