An ancient form of art known as encaustic painting will be showcased this spring at Danville's Village Theatre and Art Gallery. Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the striking visuals created by local Bay Area artists.
Opening this Saturday (March 25) and running through May 26, "Convergence: The Intersection of Wax, Color & Design, An Exploration of Encaustic Art" will be free for the public to view. A reception will be held opening night from 4 to 6 p.m.
Encaustic painting, also referred to as hot wax painting, dates back more than 2,000 years. Most popular in ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian art, the name comes from the Latin word "encastiko", meaning to heat or burn.
"It is a really interesting process. There's a subtlety with this kind of art form that I hope people come in and appreciate" said Marija Nelson Bleier, visual arts coordinator at Village Theatre Gallery. "It has kind of a quietness to it."
The galley relies on a cultural committee made from local volunteers with a background in art to select exhibitions, Bleier said. Suggestions and submissions are given to the group in which they discuss and finally select an art show to display.
Upon seeing the talents of local encaustic artists, the committee was amazed.
"One thing that really appealed to the curatorial committee about this exhibit is that it's a very different kind of art form. It's not traditional painting," according to Bleier, who has worked at the gallery for almost a decade.
Bleier explained the intricate and demanding process behind making encaustic art. The set of tools used, the nature of the medium and the safety aspect all impact the piece created.
The medium involves heating beeswax to fuse or melt it with pure pigment colors, creating unique visual effects.
"It's hard to control and definitely has a really different feel about it because it's wax," Bleier said. "There's always an element of surprise with encaustic art. You kind of have to get used to not having control and just seeing where it goes where your image is complete."
Creating encaustic-style art requires the use of additional tools and safety gear such as goggles, gloves and a blowtorch.
Due to the layering and 3D elements, each piece is unique and can look different in person from its 2D image.
"It's something that you can't see in photographs because of the layering and the wax," Bleier continued. "You can spend a lot of time looking at one piece. This is an exhibit where you can come back multiple times and keep experiencing something new every time."
Over the years, the Village Theatre Gallery has continued to highlight distinctive regional artists and their works.
"With my job as the coordinator here, I'm always looking for things that we haven't seen before," Bleier said. "We think about what kind of art we can bring to Danville that's different, unique and eye opening."
"We have a real interest in changing things. We're always trying to show things that are new or you wouldn't see otherwise," Bleier said. "We want to give the community and visitors to the gallery an opportunity to not only enjoy art, but to learn about different art forms."
To learn more about the "Convergence" exhibition, curated by artist Rinat Goren, visit the gallery's website at danville.ca.gov/vtart.
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