Major encaustic artists at Upstairs

Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Margaret Curtis works on installing Heather Harvey’s “Lost a Dream” for the gallery’s new show, “Heated Exchange: Contemporary Encaustic.” (photo submitted by Harold Maass)

Show opens Sept. 21; reception Sept. 22
The Upstairs Artspace in Tryon presents a major exhibit, “Heated Exchange: Contemporary Encaustic,” featuring renowned encaustic artists from across the U.S. and Canada. The work will be on display from Sept. 21 to Nov. 17, with an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a “walk and talk” guided look at the work at 4 p.m. the same day.
The show was put together by guest curator Reni Gower of Virginia Commonwealth University, who is one of the leading experts in the field.
“This is truly a visually stunning show,” says Margaret Curtis, chair of the Upstairs’ exhibits committee. “It’s rare for our gallery, or any gallery, to be able to bring together such an international all-star team of artists. We’re very proud to be bringing an exhibit of this caliber to our area.”
Encaustic painting is an ancient painting technique that is undergoing an explosive resurgence. The artists use pigment that is suspended in hot wax, leaving a surface that is extremely durable – the famed Fayum portraits date to the time of the pharaohs. The surface is also malleable, allowing artists to manipulate it in varied and creative ways, such as scraping, burning, dipping and pouring.
The Upstairs is offering a variety of workshops to allow everyone from kids to professional artists to explore the medium. Children will learn about bees, wax, and honey from area beekeepers. There will also be workshops – Oct. 12-13 for novices to those already at an intermediate level and Nov. 10 for people already familiar with the medium – so that people at all levels can hone their skills under the instruction of working encaustic artists.
R&F, the nation’s premier manufacturer of encaustic supplies, will provide materials for the workshops. The exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.
For more information about the show or the workshops, contact the Upstairs at 828-859-2828 or via email at or visit The gallery is located at 49 S. Trade St., Tryon. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
– article submitted
by Harold Maass

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