Beth Guipe Hall
Beth Guipe Hall
My work fluctuates between creating narrative work and experimenting with formalism. The narrative works are based on photographic images that I create or scan from old postcards, photo albums, and other ephemera often found in antique and thrift shops. After scanning, I enlarge the images and punch up the colour with digital tools. The images are printed on thin Japanese printmaking papers that become translucent when affixed to the wax surface. From there, the work evolves in the studio with no plan beyond the colour scheme. I typically work on multiple pieces simultaneously to create a series. This allows me to stay in the zone, with my “brain apps” running in the background, so I can be more productive while the ideas flow.
I started focusing on formalism more recently after a gallery asked me to create 100 8”x8” pieces of work that would hang together in a large grid. If the work had contained recognizable images, the viewer’s eyes wouldn’t find a place to rest. What began as a specific request for a show has now become a new approach to my work. Though I have always appreciated Color Field painters and Op artists, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy making art that doesn’t contain discernible imagery.
Themes in my work include personal growth, the passages of life, the drive for self-determination, the illusion of self-control and the tenuous balance between containment and release.
Hello. I’m Beth. I have been using encaustic since 2004. I discovered the material after completing an MA in Ceramics from the University of Indianapolis. During my program, I had been making what mimicked mixed-media collages created using ceramic materials. What I enjoyed about using clay, was the ability to carve and incise line into the surface. I still enjoy and make ceramics, but my love of paper pulled me back to collage and mixed-media. What I really missed about clay was the ability to carve and draw into the surface; so began the search for a material that could be marked, textured, manipulated and combined with paper.
Eventually, I stumbled across some old batik wax in a supply closet at the middle school where I was teaching. It was old, dark, and grungy; it gave me the surface I was looking for, but not the clarity I desired. Those early experiments coupled with a lot of research via the internet, and a workshop with R&F Paints, led me to encaustic. I love the immediacy and flexibility of encaustic. I love the smell of the beeswax, the endless ways it can be manipulated, the intensity of the colours and its luminosity.
I am completely hooked.