Mary Black


As a painter, my concerns have always been directed towards process, surface and materials. In 1999 I began using encaustic paint exclusively. As this material is comprised of wax, pigment and damar resin, it must be heated and fused. Using hot wax, which is difficult to control, challenges me in the creation of a wide spectrum of surfaces from flat and transparent to dense and scarred. There is a very destructive aspect to my work, as it is only through the process of destruction and creation that I am able to build the layered, raw surfaces I am so attracted to.
Often times as an artist, I need to turn to nature for impetus in my work. During one of those challenging times, two extraordinary birds nests fell from an oak tree near my studio and were suspended together by a blue nylon thread. I found myself particularly drawn to the knot in one of them, the variety of materials they used and also the notion the objects being suspended. In my usual fashion, I abstracted the idea of the nests and let the materials and the process take over, using my own materials such as twine, sheetrock tape and graphite to build my “nests”, etc.
It is my intention to trust my body’s response to the work and let the materials dictate the direction of each painting. Never an easy task. It’s about creating chaos, organizing chaos, giving into unplanned responses and letting go of intentions.


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