Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Inspiration of Paper

A good deal of time has passed since my last post, which was painfully long winded and complex. If anyone persevered to its end, you would have found that I promised to post the finished painting of "Second Loves First" which the story inspired. So here it is.

Carey Corea, "Second Loves First", Encaustic and mixed media
 on cradled panel, 48"x 72"

An interesting discovery occurred in the process of creating this painting. When the last post was written the painting was only in the preliminary sketch stage. Where you see the large rectangle of dots in the finished piece, I had sketched a grid containing marks and gestures. The following is the story how this portion of the painting evolved.

In preparation for this work, I needed to purchase a large amount of Titanium White encaustic paint at Rochester Art Supply. The owner, Mike Lesczinski, asked me if I had seen this new paper that just arrived. It was Amate paper made by the Otomi Indians of central Mexico. Its origin dates back to the ancient Aztecs. It came in different forms and colors, but the variety that interested me most was the one that was full of holes! The paper is made from the bark of wild fig trees which is stripped from the tree, softened, woven together, and pounded into a beautiful textured paper. It was a perfect substitute for the grid that I originally sketched. In fact, it was 100 times better – it had a link with ancient culture and religious rituals. It resonated with the spirit of the painting. 

Cortes in his conquests burned almost all of the writings and designs made on Amate paper believing it had something to do with witchcraft. The paper was ultimately banned in Europe for the same reason.

I bought more Amate paper. Actually, I bought a huge 4x8 foot sheet – better holes in the large size. This "holely" paper became the inspiration and foundation for a new series of paintings titled "Portals of Wonderment." Here a few paintings in the series:

Carey Corea, "Portals of Wonderment No. 1"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 30"x 30"

Carey Corea, "Portals of Wonderment No. 2"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 30"x 40"

Carey Corea, "Portals of Wonderment No. 3"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 16"x 16"

It recently dawned on me that this is not the first time an under lament of paper has influenced my painting. In 2013, I unpacked an urn which was wrapped in corrugated cardboard. That corrugated material became the inspiration for a series of paintings. Here are a few examples of that series:

Carey Corea, "The World Turns Eighteen"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 16"x 16"

Carey Corea, "Boiling of the Sea"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 16"x 16"

Carey Corea, "False Door"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 16"x 16"

Carey Corea, "The Immolation of Ivory Black"
Encaustic on cradled panel, 16"x 16"
Permanent Collection, Museum of the Encaustic Art Institute  

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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