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Christopher Gerber's Encaustics Show a Depth of Experience
Published: 09/06/2009
Encaustic painting by Christopher Gerber
Encaustic painting by Christopher Gerber

Christopher Gerber's encaustics, shown at DragonFire Gallery in Cannon Beach, use an ancient technique to create modern images of sea life and spacescapes.

Christopher Gerber's style and ­vision are perfectly matched with encaustic painting, a technique that involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. Using encaustic techniques, Gerber creates dynamic scenes of seashore creatures in their natural habitats, peaceful, sunlit shafts illuminating stones and waves, phosphorescent bubbles rising to the ocean's surface, crows in flight, even a collection of images from a Tarot deck. Metal tools and special brushes shape the waxy paint before it cools, or heated tools may be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface, achieving a lustrous enamel appearance. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged onto the surface, or layered using the encaustic medium to make it adhere.

Whether abstract or ­representational, brightly pigmented or subtly shaded, each encaustic painting is evocative, inviting you into it to explore further what is not immediately apparent. It is the way the wax holds the light, the luxuriant translucency combined with the sculptural qualities of the wax that blend so well with Gerber's styling and vision. Says Gerber: "By using multiple layers and mica pigments I generate a holographic effect in an ancient medium; a different painting from every angle. I fuse the layers with intense heat, integrating contrasting textures and simultaneously revealing intriguing nuances."

Gerber also creates unique site specific art installations in homes and businesses. Using old world ­techniques, contemporary earth friendly materials and timeless design, Gerber integrates the interior with the environment.  - By Valerie Ryan

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