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Wax exhibit on display at Geisel Gallery

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Jean Stephens presents "Sorority 2" at the Working with Wax exhibit, "Surfacing," in Rochester's Geisel Gallery.

“Surfacing,” an exhibit of works by 27 members of Working with Wax, is on display through Oct. 13 at the Geisel Gallery, 1 Bausch and Lomb Place, Rochester.

The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays on the second floor mezzanine level. Admission is free.

Working with Wax, led by founder and encaustic painting expert Kathryn Bevier, is an alliance of western New York artists who work with media based in beeswax as their primary studio practice. Members share ideas, best practices and seek guidance from one another as they explore the medium of beeswax.

“For more than five years, the Working with Wax group has been meeting, collaborating and exhibiting,” Bevier said. “What started as a small band of artists has grown significantly as we now come from all over the western New York area. It is exciting to see so many artists finding and honing in on their artistic voice through the use of wax.”

The exhibit’s title, “Surfacing,” is a nod to the versatility of wax and its potential for artists to develop paintings characterized by layers, multimedia, collage and elegant — often mysterious — surfaces.

“The idea of ‘surfacing’ was chosen as our theme in response to COVID-19,” Bevier said. “Not only does the word allude to the beautiful surfaces created with beeswax, it is a fitting metaphor as we cautiously emerge back into our communities. This exhibit is sure to inspire all who attend; hopefully, our art will bring a moment of peace. Many thanks to gallery director Jean Geisel for allowing this exhibition to continue during these unsettling times.”

In this exhibit, artists present paintings created with hot and cold wax. Hot wax is encaustic paint made of beeswax, pigment and resin hardened into a solid form. Artists melt the paint on a heated work surface, then work with it in a molten state to develop layers and texture, using additional heat to fuse new layers as they go. Paintings dry as the wax cools, which is nearly immediate. Once cool, surfaces can be incised and further developed with inlays and oil paint.

Cold wax is a colorless oil painting medium made of beeswax, solvent and resin with a consistency like vegetable shortening. Artists mix cold wax medium with oil paint to develop paintings with transparent layers, textures and inventive surfaces. Painting tools include palette knives, brayers, squeegees, repurposed cooking gadgets and traditional brushes. Paintings dry by evaporation and have a matte finish.

Art in the exhibit may be purchased directly from each artist and must remain in the gallery for the exhibit. Visitors are required to follow public health protocols of masking and physical distancing.

Working with Wax member Dawn Robinson creates "Memories of Ireland" using a wax medium.