The Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts is pleased to announce the group exhibition, Organic to Geometric: Investigations in Structure and Surface, A Group Exhibition Representing the Work of 19 Contemporary Artists located in the Heftler Visiting Artist Gallery, Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale Street, Beverly from Tuesday, January 20 – Friday, March 20, 2015. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 –p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Programming for this exhibition will be on Wednesday, February 11 (inclement weather date Thursday, February 12) with a lecture at 3:00 p.m., Rose Performance Hall, Ideas in Contemporary Encaustic given by Joanne Mattera, author of The Art of Encaustic Painting and founder/director of the International Encaustic Conference, Provincetown, with a reception at 4:00 p.m., Carol Grillo Gallery.  Exhibition, lecture, reception are free and open to the public.  The free online catalog and purchasable hardcopy will be available on the first date of the exhibition. 

This 19-artist exhibition provides a welcome opportunity to examine a curated selection of artwork aligned along a spectrum of aesthetic inquiry, from ideas rooted in the natural world to those engaging the purely formal elements of color and composition. The painters, sculptors and printmakers selected by Carol Pelletier, Chair of Fine Arts and Professor of Art at Endicott College, all work in encaustic or cold wax—paint in which pigment is suspended in beeswax.  According to R&F Handmade Paints, the Kingston, New York, company which has been manufacturing encaustic paint for 25 years,  “The word ‘encaustic’ comes from the Greek word enkaiein, meaning ‘to burn in,’ referring to the process of fusing the paint.” Heat is used throughout the encaustic process, from melting the beeswax to fusing the layers of applied wax so that the paint surface is physically integrated. 

Carol Pelletier, Chair of Fine Arts and curator, states, “Many of the artists I have selected are from a larger network of artists that gather yearly for the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  They are supportive of each other, and are motivated to create compelling work that continues to build upon a sophisticated and contemporary language, whether it is through organic or geometric means.  You can see the progression of their work and dedication to their individual voice.  My intention in having this group exhibition at our College was to expose our students to the breadth and possibilities that are held within a medium while driven by a concept.”

Joanne Mattera, one of the exhibition’s artists and the keynote speaker for the 3:00 p.m. lecture on February 11, states, “Encaustic has an almost 3000-year history dating back to Ancient Greece. It’s also the “newest” artmaking material, having been largely rediscovered by artists in the generation after the invention of acrylic paint. Its importance to an exhibition like Organic to Geometric: Investigations in Structure and Surface is that it serves as the material underpinning to a range of aesthetic concerns—medium in service to larger ideas.”

The artists chosen for this exhibition originate from 9 states throughout the US:  Natalie Abrams, North Carolina; Dawna Bemis, Maine; Binnie Birstein, Timothy McDowell,  Connecticut; Karen Freedman, Pennsylvania; Milisa Galazza, Toby Sisson,  Rhode Island; Shelly Gilchrist, Paul Rinaldi,  Illinois;  Howard Hersh, Jeffrey Hirst, Susan Lasch Krevitt,  California, Ruth Hiller, Colorado; Cherie Mittenthal, Nancy Natale, Carol Pelletier, Massachusetts, and Hilary Berseth , Pamela Blum, Joanne Mattera, New York.  The artists not only work with pigmented wax to create their paintings, sculptures, cut paper, monotypes, screen prints, but some also include mixed media such as textiles, wire mesh, plaster, gauze, and paper mache’. This collection of work proves that through time, experimentation, and creativity, a 3000 year old medium can be taken to a higher level in contemporary art and leave the viewer wanting more.  

For further information regarding Organic to Geometric: Investigations in Structure and Surface, A Group Exhibition Representing the Work of 19 Contemporary Artists or for information regarding the programming that is associated with it, please contact Kathleen Moore at 978-232-2655 or kmoore@endicott.edu.

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