Woman: a kaleidoscopic landscape, Christina Billingham, Encaustic and collage on panel
Woman: a kaleidoscopic landscape, employs organic materials to construct a landscape of form and texture. This series of encaustic works incorporates several mediums including: painting, sculpture and photography. The encaustic paint is created by mixing heated bees wax and damar resin with oil pigments. The paint is then poured in layers and the layers are fused together with heat. This mixed media approach was necessary to express the somewhat chaotic nature of the colliding materials and how they align with the comparably frantic state of attempting to balance work and home life when these two things are usually in opposition with each other. Embedded photographs in the encaustic medium creates a collage-like expression that takes the form of a figure incased in chaos.
Women, as individuals or as a class, exist under much different conditions and constraints than their male counterparts. Women have long felt the anguish of having to choose between professional success and familial fortitude. This series acknowledges the kaleidoscopic nature of women who are both steadfast and continuously shifting from one set of relations to another, creating complex variation in an attempt to be all things but with part of themselves remaining at home or at work, this series illustrates the agony of never reaching their full potential domestically or professionally. As a working parent to four young daughters, I feel the guilt and agony of not being fully available to anyone. The pressures of home are in constant opposition with those of my professional life creating a tug of war that can never be resolved.
The production of this series has been extremely cathartic. The freestyle method of working with encaustic medium has allowed me to return to the root of my artistic practice and allow for more instinctual mark making. Like much of my work, in Woman: a kaleidoscopic landscape, my goal is to create discomfort in an attempt to interrupt the viewers experience and allow for greater consideration of the work. The photographs are purposely obscured so that the viewer may allow themselves the freedom and inspiration to create their own meaning and narrative.