If you're in Provincetown this coming week for the Encaustic Conference, or just because it's P-town and you know you want to be there, find your way to the Rice Polak Gallery, 430 Commercial Street, in the East End. I've co-organized a pre-season show, Surface Attraction, with the gallery's owner, Marla Rice, to coincide with the Conference. While many encaustic-focused exhibitions are opening at galleries in town during the three-day conference, this exhibition has taken a different tack: It's about the appeal of materiality in a range of mediums.
The opening is Friday, June 3, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Consider this post a press release, an invitation and a look-see all rolled into one.
Rusty Wolfe, Celebration, lacquer on plexiglass, 48 x 48 inches
Among the many sensuous pleasures of a painting, perhaps none is as heady as the pigmented ooze of paint itself. In Surface Attraction, on view at the Rice Polak Gallery from June 3 to June 12, seven artists working in different mediums exploit the succulent slather, woozy drip, lush patina and translucent richness of their materials. Saturated color ups the ante in this exhibition, while geometric composition, tempers the works with restraint.
Willie Little, Ray Ban, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 42
Gallery artists Peter Arvidson, Blair Bradshaw, Willie Little and Rusty Wolfe contribute geometric pattern, patination, and the deep space of translucent layers. Arvidson’s succulent grids, created from daubs of color, shimmer like tesserae or pixilated close-ups of Monet’s garden, the orderliness of their composition at thrilling odds with the lusciousness of the oil. Bradshaw’s systematic grids collide with chaotic brush strokes, everything right at the surface, while Wolfe’s ebullient circles and arcs, built up in acrylic paint, layer into a deep space that confounds planarity. Little’s patinated surfaces, achieved through oxidization as much as oil paint, glance at geometry, their organic richness hinting at the narrative subtext of a rural Southern childhood.
Peter Arvidson, Meadows, oil on canvas, 16 x 16 inches
Joanne Mattera, Uttar 295, encaustic on panel, 36 x 36 inches
Joanne Mattera, who organized the exhibition with gallery director Marla Rice, offers small, luminous color fields and a loose-limbed version of the grid in her larger paintings. Lynda Ray contructs luscious zig-zags, plying architectural pattern with a sense of organic growth. Both artists work in encaustic, pigmented wax, as does gallery artist Peter Roux, whose arboreal iconograpy is the most specifically nature related.
Blair Bradshaw, Towers, mixed media, 37 x 44 inches
Lynda Ray, Terreplein, encaustic on panel, 18 x 24 inches
Peter Roux, (title coming), encaustic and oil, 24 x 18 inches
Encaustic painting has undergone a revival in the past decade. Surface Attraction, timed to take place during the Fifth International Encaustic Conference in
, positions this ancient and once nearly extinct medium squarely within the larger context of contemporary painting—here explored thematically through materiality, geometry and color. Provincetown