Are beauty and aging contradictions in terms? Penny Treese’s masterful encaustic works invite an answer to this question.
Observing the way our culture treats aging as an evil to avoid, Treese’s technique begins with an out-of-focus photograph of
a nude woman on thin paper. She distresses the image with water, wine, coffee, salt and cold—natural elements that age the
human body. Finally, applying heat to layers of molten unbleached beeswax, Treese creates a beauty and integrity from her
“aged” work—ultimately answering the aforementioned question with an empathic and absolute No.
Themes of stillness, presence and reflection are revealed throughout Penny Treese’s paintings, in both her figurative work and
sea/landscapes. The interplay of molten unbleached beeswax and lustrous pigment creates images of land and sea, sea and
sky, body and figure as field. Using an iron to apply heat and delicate pressure, Treese transforms meticulously manipulated
wax and paint. The work occupies a space, fluid between landscape and portraiture, the body as field.
Drawing inspiration from 2 Corinthians, which speaks of a house in heaven and an eternal body made for us by God, Treese’s
figures/fields transcend their earthly form and reach into a future that’s unseen, yet not unimagined.
With encaustic, Penny Treese discovered an unrestricted way of painting that has led her far beyond her training (BS degree
in Graphic Design, cum laude with honors) and experience in graphic design and traditional instruction in the arts. While on
vacation in Florida, she saw the works of an encaustic artist and was taken with the “vibrant colors, translucency in layering
and sensual textures” of the medium. She was, at the same time, exploring how to paint freely and tap into an inner source
to paint intuitively. As a result, she left her career as an art director in marketing to follow the path in fine art that opened
up to her.
Since, what she terms, her “revelations,” she has realized a long-held dream to be a fine artist even as
she balances the demands of her life as a wife and mother of three children. She is currently is member
of and teaches encaustic classes within nationally known artist Michael David’s Atelier program, Fine Arts
Workshop & Atelier. This specialized “school” essentially provides a graduate and postgraduate level of
instruction and support through a personalized curriculum designed “to help develop a clear artistic vision
through the struggle and immersion in the practice of being an artist.” In addition, she has attended
national conferences of encaustic painting led by prominent artists working in the medium