Sunday, December 31, 2017

Welcome to Issue 19 of ProWax Journal

A Michelangelo drawing in red chalk from Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, with a small related wax figure from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
J.M. photo of drawing; wax figure image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

I love when I learn something new. Susanne Arnold's Ephemeral Figures in Wax taught me a lot. I was in the audience when she delivered her illustrated talk at the Sixth International Encaustic Conference in 2012. “As a sculptor using wax as a primary medium, I was curious to know more about its use and durability in the past,” says Susanne. “Once I started researching wax sculpture I wanted to know why, other than its use in the lost-wax process, there was no mention of it in art history books. I found a lost history that needed to be told.” When she suggested recently that we publish this talk as a followup to last issue's Wax and the Color of FleshI jumped at the chance.

I look at art differently as a result of Susanne’s talk. Recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer, I came upon a red chalk drawing of a male nude. What piqued my interest in this sketch, from among the dozens of other sublime drawings on exhibition, was a photograph of a related sculptural figure at the bottom of the display case with the notation: “Small Sketch Model for a Slave, ca. 1516-19. Wax. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.”

Thinking of the history that Susanne had so meticulously researched, I immediately used my phone to log onto the V&A website and found a downloadable image of the work, which opens this post. These dimensional wax sketches were not meant for posterity, so only a few remain. Their function was to serve, as the drawings did, as models for the artist's monumental paintings and drawings. We are fortunate to be able to see this one and to understand its connection to the drawing. Read more about it here.

There’s much more in this issue. Deborah Winiarski’s curated feature looks at work in which text is incorporated. Writes Deborah, "As our lives become ever more digitalized, the beauty of the printed page and the written word has persevered."

Our columnists Jane Guthridge and Milisa Galazzi address professional concerns. In Essential Questions Jane gets ProWax members to talk about how they have moved their careers forward, while in Artist/Community/Education Milisa talks about the importance of speaking and writing cogently. With In Five Words Debra Claffey refines cogency to an art: one well-selected image accompanied by five descriptives provided by the artist. We like this feature so much we run two each issue. Debra has been casting her net a bit more widely lately, inviting members of the larger encaustic community to participate. She also stayed close to home; at my insistence she shows her own work in this issue.

In Open Call and the new In Residence, we get first-person narratives on very different topics. Anna Wagner-Ott’s piece for Open Call tackles the difficult subject of what happens when an artist sees a version of her work that she did not make. We’re not looking to embarrass anyone, simply to address (yet again) an issue that seems all too common among the beginners in our encaustic community. 

Leslie Sobel’s report opens a new department we’re calling In Residence, in which we publish reports by artists on the residencies they get to experience. We kick off the column with Leslie’s report from the Yukon. Yes, she camped out on a glacier 10,000 feet high in temperatures as low as 30-below.

Above right: Detail from Rachel Friedberg's The Bird; above left: Anna Wagner-Ott's Summer Breeze; right: a work inspired by Leslie Sobel's Yukon residency; below: the stairway leading to Shelley Gilchrist's Chicagoland studio

In Studio Visit Shelley Gilchrist takes us up the stairs into her custom-designed workspace over the new garage behind her home. It’s hard not to be just a little envious of such a well-thought-out-space. And certainly her work has flourished there.

Behind the scenes, Dawna Bemis and Cheryl McClure maintain the Exhibitions and Workshops listings, respectively. If you’re looking for art to see or a workshop to take, consult their list of who, what, where, and when. And with this issue we welcome back Corina Alvarezdelugo, who is now editing Member Exhibitions, a sidebar feature that will entice you to click on the listings to find out more.

Nancy Natale offers an Editorial on “encaustic art,” another evergreen in our community. And as always, she gets the last word with Back of the Panel.

As for the future, some of that is up to you. You’ll notice the Comment section in each article. We hope you'll engage. In terms of opportunities to contribute to this publication, Open Call is your chance to share your thoughts and experiences beyond a comment. See the sidebar for guidelines.

Since the new year is a good time to consider not only where we’re headed but where we’ve been, I'd like to acknowledge our editorial founder, Maritza Ruiz-Kim, who had the brilliant idea of creating a journal by and for professionals working in wax. I asked her what she has been up to this past year.

          A peek at Maritza Ruiz-Kim's new paintings

"Last fall, I opened a storefront studio space, using the front gallery to hold exhibitions, as well as to show my own recent work, " says Maritza. "I became the Artist in Residence at an I3 Institute Lab School, and I’m developing curriculum for their early childhood art education by applying pedagogy from Harvard’s Studio Thinking Project. I was interviewed by Mary Burger for her longform Bay Area art blog, Articiple. I had the opportunity to volunteer with Print|Organize|Protest the night before an Oakland protest march, and I was inspired to use my digital drawings to raise money for non-profits. To that end, I opened an online shop on my studio’s website to sell screen-printed totes and t-shirts. Lastly, I’ve been working on my fiction writing, and in November I completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge, which is to write 50,000 words within the month."

With the help of many of the same staff members who continue to work on the publication today, Maritza published the first issue in September 2013. We are a more informed community for the effort of Maritza’s vision and the staff's ongoing hard work. 

-- Joanne Mattera, Editor in Chief

No comments:

Post a Comment