Size: 6"W x 6"H x 0.5"D
Year Created: 2018
Ready to Hang
Fifties Girl is made from a transfer of an old advertising photo on a plywood board. She's facing us squarely, her face and smile open and welcoming. The background is made from an elaborate grid-like stencil. The picture is adorned with nonsense marks and transfer of old advertising copy. It's meant to be humorous, evocative of a past age, when women were objects of the male gaze. She's laughing, knowing she's much more than an object of the male gaze. Or is she enjoying her position? What do you think? The whole piece is covered with encaustic wax, pigmented bright red, which is a wonderful preservative.
I'm Karma Kitaj, encaustic and mixed media artist. Do you know what encaustic is? It's an ancient form of painting, having survived over millenia The Fayum portraits were discovered, buried in mummies in Eqypt, created by Greek painters in 1st c. AD, revived in the 20th century. The pigment is composed of beeswax and a resin that gives the wax more body and shine. Then luscious pigments are added to that medium. Many encaustic paintings are made on wood, which holds the wax well and does not easily bend. The artist applies various layers of pigment and burns in each layer with a heat gun or torch. This process is reflected in the word encaustic, which means "to burn in". In my paintings and mixed media work, I use a combination of wax, oil, tar, spray paint, cloth, mylar, paper, and any variety of found objects. The wax can be built up to have a sculptural effect or it can be very smooth and glossy or luminescent. The work does not have to be framed, saving the buyer a lot of money.