Encaustic artist MJ Seltzer is glad to be back again to get the job done in her preferred medium.
The results can be seen at Huron Valley Council for the Arts.
The exhibit, “Combustible: Wax on Paper — New Is effective by MJ Seltzer,” operates as a result of Friday, June 11.
“Ten many years is a extensive hiatus,” Seltzer writes in her artist statement. “It’s very good to be again from the void and absolutely a pandemic aids to foster an urgency to perform. These most current encaustic drawings are performs on Arches or Rives go over employing graphite, iron oxide, pigment, metal leaf, wax and a blow torch. And, indeed, I have a hearth extinguisher.”
She burned the colored portraits “onto paper torn from a wired pad.” They’re collectively known as the “Sketchbook Collection.” Her larger sized black, white and metallic studies are titled “All that Glitters.”
“I intentionally selected paper mainly because it is a standard drawing substrate,” Seltzer notes. “Also, it is delicate and can easily go up in smoke. I required to force this limitation.”
What is encaustic?
Coming from the Greek “enkaustikos,” the phrase “encaustic” is outlined as “heat” or “burn in,” the artist suggests.
“Heat is made use of at each individual stage of this portray strategy,” Seltzer explains. “It is used to produce the paint medium — a mixture of beeswax and damar resin crystals which presents the wax hardness and steadiness. When pigment is added to the molten medium, it turns into paint.”
It is very important to use the paint rapidly, for the reason that it’s rapid-drying.
“After implementing, every layer is reheated to fuse it to the layer beneath,” she claims. “This heating or fusing is what tends to make the ‘burning in’ encaustic technique one of a kind.”
Seltzer suggests an case in point of historical encaustic painting goes back again to in Egypt’s third century A.D., where by portraits — also named “the Fayum portraits” — included mummies’ heads. The hypothesis is that “these encaustic funerary portraits had been painted for the duration of the person’s lifetime.”
“These portraits are hanging in their real looking individuality and applied supplies comparable to individuals utilised today — beeswax, resin and pigment,” she suggests. “So, portraiture and encaustics have a prolonged history.”
They are also enduring will work of art, she states.
“Encaustic paint is 1 of the most steady of all portray mediums,” Seltzer suggests. “It has unique antimicrobial houses that staves off mould and other forms of decay. On the other hand, it does require care in get to final 1000’s of many years like the Fayum portraits. First, stay clear of temperatures over 145 degrees. This is the tipping issue at which encaustics develop into tender and tacky. So, never hold your perform in excess of a fire, retail outlet in the trunk of a vehicle or in immediate, unprotected light publicity for several hours.
“Encaustics and portraiture appreciate a very long background,” she adds, “and these reports are these of buddies or self, whereby the subject is taken care of as a supporting element with the target on the adornment the model wears. The jewelry is then created up in shallow aid and gilded with steel leaf.”
The artist committed her new will work to the memory of Susan Margaret Evans, an advocate and fanatic of the Huron Valley Council for the Arts. Evans, who taught in the Huron Valley Faculty District for more than 20 several years, died in 2019 at age 72. “She was instrumental in encouraging me to return to creative imagination and embrace lifetime all over again via art,” Seltzer suggests.
• If you go: “Combustible: Wax on Paper — New Works by MJ Seltzer” operates through June 11 with a virtual opening at 7 p.m. Friday, May well 7. Gallery several hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, or by appointment. For far more info, or to make an appointment to see the show, contact HVCA at 248-889-8660.