I’ve been promising this for weeks–it is so much fun. How would you like to make your very own faux Gerhard Richter painting? And by faux, I don’t mean fake. I mean artificial or imitation. The Theory sent me this article by Jerry Saltz the other day called “Saltz Challenges: Produce a Perfect Faux Gerhard Richter Painting, and I’ll Buy It.” It originally appeared in New York Magazine.
You have to read it and view the slide show! To summarize, Mr. Saltz challenged his readers to produce faux paintings by Gerhard Richter, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin (and several others). Anyway the artist who ultimately created the faux Richters shows how he did it in the slideshow.
Saltz ends his article by discussing what faux means in this context: “I love living with my faux Richters, even if neither looks exactly like the real deal. Very close is close enough for me (and as close as I’m going to get). Maybe it’s better: I love that there’s no big-dick trophy-art baggage around them. Moreover, they trigger enough memory of actual Richters that they become real enough. I’m not making a comment about the market or smirking that some work can be reproduced. We’re not creating fake provenances or aging materials…. These are knockoffs, flints that spark, reminders, whatever.”
So I thought, why not try it with encaustic? I’m still kicking around, looking for ideas, I need something fun to do. I got a metal paint spreader that was rigid enough to pull through cooling wax and a nice clean white panel. I was ready to go.
My faux rules:
Because I wanted to make this an encaustic project, I decided to use as much hot wax as possible. It would be easy to do the piece using emulsified cold wax paint, which acts like oil paint, but it wouldn’t fit our current definition of encaustic = hot wax. So I opted to do one layer of hot wax followed by a layer of cold wax and so on, alternating layers until the magic happened. The cold wax provided the smearing while the hot wax created texture.
So here is my first effort:
Note: Because hot wax cools so quickly, I added a teaspoon of linseed oil to slow it down. When I poured the wax on the panel, I poured it vertically down the panel so that when I squee-geed and the wax didn’t move very far from the pour site, it still looked like a continuous sweep down the panel. That said, you can see a lot of white space along the edges and some lifting in the middle. In the next part, I try to deal with these little irritations.