AMY VAN WINKLE
Amy Van Winkle was born in Norwood, MA. Her early artistic pursuits involved a #2 pencil and a sketchpad. From there she began creating mixed media work on canvas with old textbooks and acrylic. In 2000, Amy moved to Hong Kong and began traveling around Southeast Asia. Van Winkle now works mainly in the wax based medium of Encaustic. Her influences include Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly. In addition to these influences, she acknowledges the role personal experiences take in shaping her work. Although she creates quite spontaneously, there's always a hint of structure and control to her paintings. The theme of 'transition' is common throughout her work.
Van Winkle lives in Illinois, with her partner Michael, their son Declan and a very bad dog named Seamus. She states: “It's simple; I create art because it makes me happy. My paintings aren't complicated, but yet they're full of memories and emotions. In my early artistic endeavors, I found comfort in creating pieces that were very linear and controlled, a stark contrast to my always-chaotic life of work and travel.” Just as Van Winkle has grown and evolved, so have her paintings. The encaustic paint she uses provides a unique structure for her visual voice. Van Winkle’s paintings become a dialog of fused layers, with transparent and opaque details. She builds up these layers and then selectively scrapes, incises and scars the surface creating a visibly archival history.
The artist’s paintings are intuitive, drawing on inspiration from architecture, nature, song lyrics and quotes. Her work maintains structure as she is always in control of the medium, however, there's always an element of surprise when she torches the wax. This plays perfectly on her conflicting need for control and spontaneity. The surfaces she creates look delicate, yet they have endured a history of heating and scraping. Van Winkle’s paintings are a visual representation and diary of her personal journey and explorations.
The Encaustic Process
Encaustic is a Greek word meaning "to heat or burn in"(enkaustikos). It's a medium that has been in use for more than 2,000 years. The famous funeral portraits from Fayum, Egypt and wall paintings from Pompeii are some of the more famous examples of encaustic art in the ancient world. Heat is used throughout the process, from melting the beeswax and resin to fusing the layers of wax.
Encaustic consists of natural bees wax and damar resin (crystallized tree sap). The medium can be used for its transparency and adhesive qualities or for pigmentation. The medium is melted and applied with a brush. Each layer is then reheated to fuse it to the previous layer. Through this process the artwork gains a textural surface that records the history of the artwork.