Catherine Eaton Skinner:
The number 108, a potent symbol to Buddhism, Hinduism, and other Eastern spiritual traditions, has inspired the work of Catherine Eaton Skinner since 2004. Best known for her encaustic paintings incorporating natural imagery,Skinner’s Gya Gye (Tibetan for 108) and related series represent dramatic experimentation in form, process, and viewer engagement. Informed by extensive travels in Bhutan, India, Japan, and elsewhere—along with her corresponding research into languages and philosophical systems—she expanded her mediums to include rope, fabric, glass, stones, and found objects which she modified in unpredictable ways. Although some of the series, such as the Elements paintings, retain recognizable imagery, her recent series bring 108 into the 21st century. From QR code patterns to the simple, interminable zeroes and ones of binary language, Skinner discerns pictorial aptitude in contemporary digital codes. Other series explore ancient tally marks—both eastern and western—and the abstracting impact of systematically repeating simplified mountains or tight details of eyes, among other universal motifs.
Video on the Catherine talking about her work for the
Pratt Fine Art Center, Auction, May 2016
About the Medium:
As an artist, I communicate best not with words but with visuals, the medium only a beginning, and a tool to be used for the exploration. I define and redefine images, spiraling past points where I have been. An encounter with an old image may touch a new awareness, a new thought out of which develops new images to pursue.
The figures may be here, there, or somewhere in between, lost, or just lost in thought, alone or together in ways we may not see. Landscapes of the soul bound to landscapes of the earth, the air, the light.
Painting with encaustic was like returning home for me. The last two years of painting and drawing, I have been intrigued with transparent layers, wax melted onto monotypes, and working on frosted films that overlap. Years of batik, painting with color in the wax, made it an easy transition to encaustic. This beeswax-based paint is applied molten to an under painted surface of linen that has been stretched on a wood panel and sized with hot rabbit skin glue. Layers of colored wax are built up, and then fused with a hot air gun. Different colors will melt at different rates because of the varying chemical compositions of the pigments and the greater absorption of heat by darker colors. The layers can be used transparent or very opaque, scraped, incised and impregnated with objects, papers or other materials.
The durability of encaustic is due to the fact that beeswax is impervious to moisture, does not yellow and darken with age and with the inclusion of dammar resin in the formula increases the hardening of the wax over time. As with all works of art the paintings should not be hung in the sun or kept at very cold temperatures. A simple buffing with a soft cloth and a spritz of water will remove any haze that may appear, especially in the first few months when the surface is hardening and curing.
View Artwork by Catherine Eaton Skinner in Person
Come see these pieces first hand. We are just a short walk from the ferry and an excellent destination for your visit to San Juan Island.
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