Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Washi Paper is Your Friend

I woke up one morning with an idea for a small experiment to try in the studio. What would happen if you sandwiched a regular photo printed on heavyweight matte paper to a photo printed on 55gsm (super thin) washi paper using my new favorite buddy - 3M(TM) Positionable Mounting Adhesive 568?  Would the result be transparent when wax was applied to the top?

I scanned and printed some old handwritten letters onto regular Epson Watercolor paper.  Then I printed the color photo of the model onto the washi paper.

A couple years ago I tried this type of sandwich but with wax between the photos. While it technically worked, it was a painful process and the inevitability of air bubbles, especially with a larger piece, caused me to have nightmares.
Here's my 2 images glued down before the application of wax.

And here's the piece after a few layers of encaustic medium have been applied.  It was fun watching the under letter layer reveal itself as I fused the wax and it soaked into the washi paper/upper photo. 
I'm quite excited about the initial result.  It has sparked many more ideas and I can't wait to refine this idea.  My first change is to break up the texture of the letter layer so it isn't so uniform.  Here's a shot from the next attempt.

On a less technical note, my ideas behind this piece evolved from the theme "Remnants" from my show coming up in September.  I wanted to depict how I both know and don't know my most recent ancestors through family stories and photos, but how all I really have is a glimpse into the lives of these people.
For those of you who are around the Lexington, KY area and might be interested, I will have new pieces on display along with Page Turner and Amanda J. Cawby at the MS Rezny Studio and Gallery for the month of September 2014.  

Here's a write up for the show:
Left: Page Turner
Right Top: Melissa T. Hall
Right Bottom: Amanda J. Cawby
Defined as the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone, “Remnants” is a body of work produced by three artists brought together by a common fascination with the scraps, mementos, leftovers, sentimental objects, and traces left behind by others.

Approaching the theme from slightly different directions, Page Turner and Amanda J. Cawby make use of the actual physical remnants from people’s lives in their complex assemblages, while Melissa T. Hall uses the idea of people’s actions leaving behind a vestige or trace to fuel her conceptual images.

Turner sculpts assemblages which resonate with the personal history of everyday objects. Her sculptures explore ideas about female gender roles, especially social mores of women seen through fashion, undergarments, and sexual taboos. Using domestic skills passed down from Grandmothers, Mother, Aunts, and Sisters, Turner pays sincere homage to the feminine.

Cawby finds herself drawn to the inherent energy of objects and remnants left behind by others.  Her completed assemblages are a combination of her own personal narratives and the collected ephemera she repurposes and transforms.  Cawby’s work evokes thoughts of stories left untold, paths not taken, and destinies unfulfilled.

Hall approached the work by asking herself, “What has left a trace or mark on me?”  This led her to explore the physical and emotional remnants left by those who have gone before.  Inspiration was derived from oral family histories and advice heard over and over again.  Inherited heirlooms became symbols sparking narratives.  Her imagery examines the contradictory potential to be both burdened and inspired by these remnants which cling to us from past relationships.