Nancy Burnham’s solo exhibition, Quill 3, is the final show from the Alaska State Museum’s 2013 solo exhibition series. The exhibit will open on Friday, January 17, at 4:30 p.m. with a reception sponsored by The Friends of the Alaska State Museum. The museum will be open extended hours that evening, until 7 p.m.
Burnham, from Ester, Alaska, presents encaustic large-scale, three-dimensional hangings, relief and floor pieces. Encaustic is an old medium used all over the world. It involves mixing pure pigment and sometimes other materials with hot wax. The usual choice is beeswax, which makes the studio smell like honey. If protected, images painted in encaustic can be very long-lasting. Some two-thousand year old encaustic portraits from Egypt are still bright and clear.
The porcupine quills Burnham embeds in her pieces powerfully underscore a long-running theme in her work: beauty and pain. With this theme, she explores “the idea of what we go through to be beautiful. Within the feminine community, there is always a sharp or painful aspect to beauty.”
Burnham’s exhibition will be on display at the museum until February 28 when the museum will close for the continued construction of the new facility. The museum will reopen in the new State Library, Archives, and Museum building at 395 Whittier St. in April, 2016. The new 118,000 square foot facility will feature museum galleries, a museum store, a café, a large 125-seat multi-purpose room, a classroom, a reading room, a research room, the state historical libraries, and state archives – all under one roof.