For the upcoming exhibition, Balancing Acts, at Twiggs Gallery in Boscawen, NH later this month, I asked each of the artists for a paragraph or two about their work and our theme: Explorations of the artful life in wax and encaustic. I had Borofsky’s work in mind when I chose the theme. I was drawn to her constructions of paper and wax that appear to be precariously balanced and teetering on the edge. I asked Jeanne a few questions about what she wrote and about her life as an artist. First, here is an excerpt from her Artist Statement:
All of the art I have created in my life is a balancing act. Balance the content, the medium, the time available, whatever else is happening in my life and the world around me. These pieces are a more physical reflection of this balancing. I balance the boxes (and roofs) so they seem to be standing. I balance the color and shape. I try to balance between the fantasy and whimsy and the seriousness of a vision of the world through art.
These encaustic assemblages start with encaustic monotypes (a unique print made with encaustic and a hot plate rather than a press). There is a monotype mounted to the panel, and I add origami boxes folded mostly from more encaustic monotypes. I spend a lot of my time folding, which is a kind of meditation, and then more time constructing and adding stamps, maps, bits of asemic writing and other ephemera to create an impression of the world, seen through my personal lens.
I love the way beeswax creates both physical and visual depth and translucency to the work – adding to the mystery and magic I’m trying to convey. Whatever I put into my art, it always includes the joy of creation, the love of art, and the happiness in my ability to create it.
Can you say more about the “balance between the fantasy and whimsy and the seriousness of a vision of the world through art”?
Hmm… I take my art seriously. I use all the skills and techniques I have learned in my lifetime of art-making, but I choose to see and portray the whimsical and fanciful world that lives in my head.
Why and how is mystery and magic important in your work?
I have always felt, since I grew up a solitary child way out in the backwoods, that the line between fantasy and reality is very thin for me. Even when I create more “serious” pieces there is always some fantasy in them. It feels necessary.
What strategies do you use to balance the content and the medium?
I have worked in many different media in my life. Finding encaustic was a joy for me, because it seems to translate what I see in my head more easily than any other.. the balance is there.
What role(s) do the asemic writing and the stamps play in your work? How did they come about and become important?
I love the look of writing, and the idea of writing out our thoughts, but I don’t want to have the viewers be locked in to real words, so I developed a few types of asemic writing. The stamps reflect the wonder and mystery we all feel when we receive something personal in our mailbox. The cancelled stamp on each piece also helps get it to the viewer (just as the bit of computer on each piece helps keep it running).
What are you juggling to make an artist’s life?
Now that I retired from my day job doing digital imaging I am juggling a lot less. I think having had a very limited amount of time to work for many years makes it easier for me to get into my studio as much as possible. That said, if either of our children visit from their far-away homes I will drop everything while they are here.
What other activities are important to you to feel like a balanced person?
I do yoga, ski, hike, play hockey, and walk in the woods. I also read a lot.
Visit Balancing Acts at Twiggs Gallery, July 30 – September 2, 2016, to see all of Jeanne Borofsky’s works. The opening reception will be August 4, from 5 – 7 pm. Visit her website at dreamingprinter.com.