LAKE FOREST – Encaustic or hotwax painting is a flowing fusion of colors and texture, melded and molded by the artist to reveal a hidden and unexpected beauty from deep within the spatial mix. The medium dates back to the Greeks and employs wax-based paint that is melted and applied to a rigid porous surface, and then reheated into a smooth texture finish. The work is demanding; one painting can require hundreds of layers applied in an intuitive and exacting process in which the artist paints and edits layer upon layer, heat-fusing each in place before adding on another layer.
Rebecca Stahr has spent ten years perfecting her encaustic painting techniques to the high regard of curators and art patrons alike, with accolades mounting each year. Her work hangs in private collections and galleries throughout the Midwest, and she was featured just last month on the prestigious The Artist Next Level program hosted by noted Chicago curator Sergio Gomez.
Stahrs’ passion for her age-old encaustic craft is matched only by the persistence of her bodily pain. The artist lives and works with the daily agony of a rare auto-immune disease – and the only real release she finds is through her art. She finds life balance in working with and through her pain to a place of beauty.
“As much as I don’t want to be defined by my pain, it colors every aspect of my work. I find beauty and inspiration through the lens of pain, brokenness and imperfection,” said Stahr.
Despite her bodily struggles, Stahr’s paintings are vibrant, inspirational, flowing with energy and color. Far from dark, they are uniquely powerful.
‘Encaustic painting is meditative and prayer-like for me…stirring an inner dialogue, a spiritual connection, that flows rawly from my soul. I have found a release from the emotional energy that powerfully builds within me, where pain gives way to the stronger power of creation and empowerment.”
Stahr also uses her life and art experiences to help others who face challenges, supporting art therapy programs and projects which empower and inspire. She has seen the living proof of art’s power. To that end, the opening night of her exhibit will raise funds to buy needed supplies for the Brave Girls Club – an international program which helps struggling young women around the world explore their inner beauty and develop self-confidence through artful Truth Cards of care and inspiration.
The opening of the Inner Landscapes by Rebecca Stahr is Friday, July 22, 6-9 p.m. in Re-invent’s Main Gallery at 202 E. Wisconsin, Lake Forest.
The exhibit extends through September 10.
On the opening night, there will be an opportunity to meet the artist and discuss her work, and refreshments will be served. There will also be an early registration opportunity for those interested in attending Stahr’s September “Labor of Love” lecture on encaustic painting.
Also on July 22, a new Artisans on the Bluff collective exhibit opens in the Studio Gallery in Re-invent’s north wing for visitors’ additional viewing pleasure. Admission to all Re-invent exhibits is free, with donations welcomed…. For more information on the North Shore arts hub’s gallery, artisan’s shop and studio workshops, visit reniventlf.com or call 224-544-5961.
Submitted by Re-invent Gallery in Lake Forest