For a city and state that are so amazingly hot, there sure are a lot of artists working with encaustic in the Valley. Maybe it has something to do with the fragility of the medium in this climate, but the local art scene has many artists who are masters of making wax melt to their art, and the quality of art being made by local encaustic artists is another feather in the hat for the local Phoenix art scene. Chris Jagmin, a longtime encaustic artist, is one of the best in the valley at creating dynamic, vibrant artworks, and Walking Stories, the encaustic paintings of Christopher Jagmin, now on display at Practical Arts, showcases his unique designs.
Often times, encaustic artwork is almost an afterthought, a brushing on of wax after a painting has been created, another layer added to the image and a way to fuse the paint together. But Jagmin uses these distinct colors of his encaustic as bold lines and blocks, creating color patterns and combinations that are at times freeform jazz, and at times color theory personified.
Part Picasso, with am imagery that tilts and twists the ideas of perspective with movement and lines, and part Kandinsky, with a strong tie to geometry and color and balance, Jagmin’s work walks the line between pure abstraction and fluid perception. Some pieces seem to strike hard against geometric line work, creating patterns and colors and shapes that stress an almost Joseph Albers approach to visualizing color. But other pieces hide imagery within the patterns, and these faces and bodies work against the color shapes of their environment, bulging and pushing with force and energy.
Walking Stories just works in so many ways. The encaustic craftsmanship is stunning and superb, the use off colors creates an abstraction that is part design, part color theory, and the strong use of geometry and shape build two dimensional events that become more than just colors reacting against each other. These images become the meshing between what we perceive and what is reality, between the moment and the memory, distinct lines that curve and sway with the moment in a free form jazz solo, bright and climactic.