Encaustic on Panel
18″ X 18″
About the Artist
On Gender, Myths, and Landscapes
I understand my paintings as modern icons of the feminine.
Although the primary role of the icon is to bring the viewer into relationship with the depicted figure rather than tell stories about him or her, I aim to achieve both in the form of opening a dialogue.
In my female portraits “Inscapes” I look for imagery that derives symbols from mythology, nature and spirituality.
As an artist I neither accept myth or religion as a historical fact, nor reject it as useless. I move between those two extreme poles to explore history and its trends, trying to understand and communicate its meanings for today. Therefore, these Inscapes aim to make a political, religious and cultural statement.
My landscape paintings are designed to pose as a metaphor for society’s need of refuge. Their main thrust is to act as a place of sanctuary and as a place of retreat where one can reflect, separate themselves and achieve contemplation.
As every artist visits his or her places of childhood, I too am very influenced by my European roots, earliest memories and experiences with art and nature.
My parents took me to the Acropolis when I was 5 years old; I admired the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna, Italy at age 9. I remember standing at the Lion Gate at Mycenae visualizing Cassandra and her tragic fate, as a teenager. It seems as if I am revisiting the places of my childhood, my European roots. All the great places I have been, the archetypical figures of myths and religions are finding their way back into my images, leading the way to trace the primary patterns in humanity’s cultural and spiritual evolution.
I paint with hot liquid beeswax, pigments and fire. My process of painting begins with composing paint from pigment and wax, giving me the joy to truly create the “right” consistency of paint in terms of hues and transparency.
This ancient raw painting technique constantly copes with loss and restoration, reflecting the themes of my imagery.
For me the beauty of an encaustic painting lies in its uniquely transparent layers that are catching the light. The painting comes to life from within, giving way to luminous and lush colors that are sealed in a jade-like surface.
Birgit Huttemann-Holz, 2011