Saturday, August 27, 2005

ArtWalk Tonight

Elisabeth and Steve Lanier just opened their art-and-craft space on Post Office Street in Galveston ( So here’s what’s going on with this evening’s Galveston ArtWalk and the Laniers’ new exhibit.

The Galveston Arts Center's doing its arts-centric evening of gallery-hopping again in Galveston’s historic downtown district. The date’s today, August 27th, from 6 to 9-ish PM. Brochures listing this ArtWalk’s venues, are available at the Galveston Arts Center, 2127 Strand. Get in your car/truck/SUV and go. More important, see DesignWorks’ “Waxing Abstract: Recent Encaustic Paintings” which also opens tonight.

But first Elisabeth had to explain encaustic painting to me – and thank you very much. Encaustic, from the Greek word meaning “to burn in,” is an age-old painting technique in which pigment is suspended in melted beeswax. Beginning with layers upon layers of wax, these intensely-colored pigments are brushed, sculpted, daubed, coaxed into form by melting, pouring and brushing. The artist may choose to alter the surface with additional layering, etching, burning and reapplying of the pigmented wax. The surface thus created becomes a lambent pool of multi-layered textures from thick impastos of brilliant colors to translucent washes of shimmering hues. DesignWorks in Galveston is featuring two encaustic artists.

Words from Elisabeth (catch me using a word like “metaphysically” in public):

Paintings by Eleanor Schimmel are very much about the seductive quality of color and surface. In this series, variously entitled “Compositions,” she explores planes of light, and the fracturing of those planes, inspired by the angled roof of a Pennsylvania barn as viewed from the window of her studio. Surprisingly, her light-dappled compositions take on a tropical quality while reminding the viewer of the Impressionists’ efforts to capture the elusive qualities of light. More metaphysically, these compositions reflect her preoccupation with the negotiations and compromises we all face in the minutiae of our daily lives.

Works by Larry Spaid are subtly textured, minimal studies in oil and wax medium on canvas. He is interested in creating formal and technical compositions that are, in turn, objects as well as fields of illusion. These pieces are based on a recent study and travel sabbatical in Vietnam and Cambodia, where Spaid had previously served in the Vietnam War. While there, he researched traditional farm building techniques, crafts, utilitarian devices and objects of ritual, all of which inform this present body of work. Although seemingly similar, both artists work in wax using geometry as metaphor. The works are actually striking in their contrast.

It’s a new gallery and new people, people.

Go south. See Elisabeth and Steve – and the exhibit. “Waxing Abstract: Recent Encaustic Paintings” at DesignWorks, 2119A Post Office Street in Galveston’s art and entertainment district. Gallery hours are Monday, 11AM to 6PM; Tuesday and Wednesday, by appointment; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11 to 7; and Sunday, 1 to 6PM.

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