I seek to create dynamic, emotionally resonant art, work that catches the eye from across the room, while inviting an in-depth up-close look. My imagery uses original photography that I blur and repeatedly layer through an approach I developed about 15 years ago. New hard lines form as well as grainy textures, blurs and smears. A characteristic positive/negative juxtaposition often adds a note of mystery.

Transforming images of recognizable people or places is a way to keep asking “what if?” while questioning acquired ideas and probing my aesthetic sensibilities. I often return to combine various “finished” versions of an image, each with a different personality, hoping for some kind of elusive ultimate version. All along, I sense that breaking up a photo’s seamless smooth surface – fracturing and smudging the digital image – creates an intrigue that engages the viewer’s imagination and personal history.

Though my prints are made with pigment inks on archival, flat paper (often Hahnemuhle), I delight in the effect of dimensionality. A three-dimensional quality seems to be a by-product of bold forms and sonorous printing. There is an element of play in transforming a photo into something worth sharing, but making a satisfying print often demands a dogged application of analysis and will power.

About “Buzz” – bees and wax

A key “found material” used in “Buzz” actually found me. A few years ago, I discovered dead bees on the bedroom window sills, and on the bed. Then within days, I noticed a bald-faced hornet nest near our front door. An aggressive brood with venomous stings, the hornets had nevertheless, lived peacefully nearby, before abandoning their nest in the fall. Hornet nest paper with its ridges, subtle grain and mahogany color now grounds my airy encaustic landscape.

As encaustic medium is mostly beeswax, these bees may be seen as enjoying a home-coming, a kind of return to the womb. Encaustic painting has been around for centuries, but my treatment recalls the natural process of an insect trapped and preserved in amber. “Buzz” may be seen as a cheerful vista alive with airborne activity or as a momento mori, which reminds us there’s a limit to our splendorous days in the sun. Enjoy this landscape and contemplate found elements resulting from deep social bonds, selfless industry, and long-honed adaptations to the environment. But remember . . . danger lurks nearby.

artpaxton@gmail.com
www.paxtonphoto.com