Artist Statement

 

In my paintings I seek to capture the essence of the natural world, from specific places to elements in the environment. Nature provides us not only with inspiration and solace but also with limitless metaphors. Through metaphorical connections, and by finding ourselves in relationship with nature, we discover who we are. The concept of searching led me to think more deeply about maps. As a child, I drew maps on the reverse side of desk pad calendars, creating intersecting maps that covered the floor of an entire room. My fascination with maps has continued into adulthood, and I’m very interested in their design, their space, and the way physical space is transformed into a different visual language and system of symbols. I like the idea that a map can relate to painted imagery and create a kind of spatial duality in my work. Another duality central to my work is the continual shift between realism and abstraction.

 

Encaustic is the perfect medium for this subject, because, when heated, it mimics the movement of water. Wax is inherently mutable. Working in encaustic allows me to engage the surface both additively and subtractively, and to incorporate multiple layers to achieve actual and illusory depth. Oil paintings as an overlay reference a sense of place and an element of realism. In contrast, lines are drawn/scored into the surfaces of some of the paintings, introducing linear qualities that mimic the map lines.

 

The captivating element of water has stirred my imagination for several years, and most recently I have been interested in nautical charts. Water’s movement, ever-changing characteristics and surface patterns have also inspired my work. Water has an indelible presence in the human psyche, in perception, and culture. It can be tranquil as well as destructive; life sustaining, yet also a fragile resource.

© 2018  Jennifer Williams