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Elise Freda
Gesture and Geometry: Encaustic Painting

Henaine Miranda Contemporary Art Projects

By D. Dominick Lombardi
The New York Times
Sunday, December 21, 2003

Encaustic painting dates back as far as the fifth century B.C. and, more recently, has been given new life by artists like Jasper Johns.

The current show at Henaine Miranda, a wonderful show that should delight most proponents of Non-Objective Art, features encaustic paintings by Elise Freda.

Encaustic painting incorporates beeswax as its main ingredient. First, the wax is heated to a liquid state, so pigment can be added. When melted, it can be poured, dripped, or painted on like any other liquid. Because it dries very quickly, the artist must work fast, plan ahead and embrace the unpredictability of the material. When dry, encaustic can be manipulated further by scraping, scratching or sanding.

Ms. Freda's art has a marvelous tactile quality. She embeds paper elements into and under the wax.

The translucent quality of encaustic allows faint images on the paper to emerge slowly, and almost imperceptibly, as your eyes adjust to the surfaces of the paintings.

Compositionally speaking, she freely blends simple geometric forms with a spontaneous, calligraphic line creating a certain volume of space and information.

Ms. Freda also has an incomparable sense of design – a factor that becomes quite evident in the effortless way she moves from small to big canvases.

I left the show hungry for more, and delighted to find one more artist who puts technique and quality over trend.

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