Kim Covell Maurer
My work is created with encaustic, the ancient Greek method of using wax medium. I melt locally produced 100 percent beeswax with a refined beeswax processed in the state of New York and mix dry powdered pigments for color. The process requires steady temperatures to minimize toxic fumes yet enough heat to bond the wax and pigment. I apply this encaustic paint on varieties of porous surfaces with brushes, knives, and pouring methods. Each layer requires a heated bond to the previous layer, using torches, heat guns, and other less potent tools. This bonding of layers is referred to as burning in—the literal translation of the term ‘encaustikos’.
My color and image decisions become a negotiation with the process – the torch and heat sources often have a different goal than I do, making for unpredictable outcomes.
This tension between my preconceived ideas and the random aspects of heated and liquid wax has become a significant part of my art making.
My use of wax layers has developed a fundamental feature to the visual, symbolic, and procedural aspects of this work and its interest in dichotomies; it has an inherent quality to simultaneously reveal and conceal what lies underneath and adds further complexity to what will or will not complement it.
My current process seeks to merge materials, methods, and visual qualities that do not quite fit, to invite a bit of play and struggle, and to discover and embrace new and surprising combinations.