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Updated: September 12, 2013 19:40 IST

Waxing eloquent

Harshini Vakkalanka
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MELTING MOMENTS: Manjiri draws from an ancient Greek technique of painting with pigmented beeswax using heat through irons, hot air, or gas torches
MELTING MOMENTS: Manjiri draws from an ancient Greek technique of painting with pigmented beeswax using heat through irons, hot air, or gas torches

Manjiri Joshi’s exhibition of encaustic art, made of beeswax, opens up a new world of colours and textures

Lines of colours zig-zag, intersect, melt and fuse. Sometimes they move smoothly to create discernible worlds, at other times, they are more orderly, becoming landscapes.

But the world of Manjiri Joshi’s encaustic art, in her latest exhibition “Magical Melts” on at Renaissance Gallerie, is a world of contained possibilities.

“Melted wax most easily lends itself to abstracts or landscapes because it has a mind of its own. At the same time, the more you play with the abstracts, more emerges,” says Manjiri, whose encaustic art draws from an ancient Greek technique of painting with pigmented beeswax using heat through irons, hot air, or gas torches.

The heat is used to manipulate melted wax, which creates different textures as the wax hardens.

“Each colour has a different melting point, which creates different textures on the medium and the wax itself creates different textures on different media, like canvas, wood, and paper,” explains Manjiri.

“The basic technique is that hot wax is transferred to the medium and manoeuvred, sometimes using hot air until patterns emerge. Then I add the details, using hot air, to create a sense of form. Each medium has a different method.”

Manjiri applies this technique to spontaneously create a series of abstract paintings and landscapes.

She works with pigmented wax to create pure abstracts (as in “Foggy Apparitions”), which are simply a play of line and vivid colour, and plays with lines to create forms that sometime come together to suggest the idea of landscapes as in “The Sea World” or “The Other Planet”.

These include partly-abstract works such as “Philosophical Tree” where the wax folds and flows to create lyrical form, and therefore imagery.

Sometimes the artist manipulates the wax to create typical landscapes such as “Illuminated” or “Solitude”.

She also mixes oil paints with soft wax, which she then paints onto the canvas, in works such as “Churning”, a landscape depicting an inky blue sky that seems to suggest the break of dawn.

“Magical Melts” will be on view at the Renaissance Gallerie, Cunningham Road, until September 14. For details, contact 22202232.

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