Wax: Contemporary Methods

October 12 - November 30, 2019


Wax: Contemporary Methods

At first glance wax may seem like an odd choice of painting medium. Drawing, sure—we’re all familiar with crayons, but painting? It is naturally solid at room temperature, so it must be altered with heat or chemistry to make it workable. However, wax, particularly beeswax, has many advantageous characteristics that make it worth these extra steps. 

Wax binds pigments. It is translucent, allowing light to travel through and back out again, giving colors a unique luminescence. Wax adheres to many surfaces and can therefore be used to bind objects together or encapsulate them. It builds layers and textures. The surface can be made rough, matte, smooth, or glossy. Used hot, wax cools quickly yet can always be reworked. It can be added and removed while painting. Beeswax is impermeable to moisture and, given the right preparation, does not discolor over time. Plus, it smells nice. Artists have been taking advantage of these qualities for centuries.


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Download the exhibition handout.