Nan Tull

Encaustic Paintings and Works on Paper

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Artist's Statement

For twenty-five years, encaustic has been my painting medium. Experimentation with prepared wax mediums and my own cold wax emulsions preceded my long-standing love affair with molten beeswax, where what goes on under its translucent surfaces interests me as much as what happens on top. My paintings are constructed by pouring or painting with brushes to create multiple, often translucent layers that can be filled in, scraped down, carved, piled up, heated to a smooth as satin surface, or worked in a textural impasto approach. Process is paramount in implementing ideas that often balance my twin engines of interest in opposites…. organic, free-flowing imagery of the natural environment along with the grids, geometry and structure of the architectural, man-made world. The two co-exist and inform each other, eroded by time and the ravages of mankind.

Work that began in early 2002 spoke of a yearning for a quiet refuge, simplicity and order in a noisy, stressed and chaotic post 9/11 world. Control in art is a myth, but I nonetheless tried to establish some foundations of order to help guide me . Moreover, although I began those pieces instinctively, I was both re-examining the complicated organic forms of the natural world that I had been using for years, and revisiting in different ways structures and grids I explored in the early 1990's.

Since the completion in fall, 2009, of my 25-Year Painting and Drawing Retrospective at the Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA, my work is evolving yet again in response to looking back at four decades of work. Over the last five years, my painting, still using encaustic, along with new elements of ink and paper,  has turned to exploring family history through memory, memorabilia and current technology where the past and present intersect. Optimism remains, tempered by life’s inexorable ebb and flow, allowing my art to continue with both exuberance and restraint.

- NAN TULL