11th International Encaustic Conference Coming to P-Town

Produced by Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill

The weekend of June 2-4, 2017 Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill will be producing the 11th Annual International Encaustic Conference.  This is the first year that the conference will be directed by Cherie Mittenthal, Castle Hill’s Executive Artistic Director and produced by Castle Hill. This annual interdisciplinary conference was founded in 2006 by Joanne Mattera to bring a community of artists together with gallerists, curators, critics and collectors engaged with wax, printmaking, mixed media, professional practices and more.

This conference has seen over 200 participants from over 38 states and 8 countries. This year we anticipate over 200 artists from around the world joining us in Provincetown, MA for a weekend filled with lectures, workshops, demonstrations, and exhibitions. 

This year’s Keynote Speaker is Artist, Author and Critic Sharon Louden.  Sharon will be speaking Saturday morning to kick off the day. Her talk is titled “Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life”.  Sharon Louden holds a MFA from Yale University and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Weisman Art Museum, Birmingham Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and is held in major public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.

During the encaustic conference there will be three full days filled with demonstrations, lectures and networking at the Provincetown Inn.  For the first time, the annual Postcard Sale, a yearly fundraiser that takes place during the conference will be open to the public.  The Postcard Sale Going Postal showcases work by conference attendees. Each card sells for $30 and all of the proceeds go to a scholarship fund for prospective artists attending the conference the following year.  Last year enough money was raised to provide 10 scholarships to artists this year.

The vendor room at the conference is a wonderful place for artist to checkout what is the newest, latest and greatest from vendors around the country.  This is also the first year that our vendor room will be open to the general public throughout the conference weekend.   Conference attendees have described the vendor room in the past as “If there were an encaustic heaven, it would be the vendor room”.  We are excited this year to welcome some new vendors and welcome back some old favorites.  This year’s vendors include Evans Encaustics, Kama Pigments, Paper Connection International, Miles Conrad Encaustic, Artist Loft, R & F Handmade Paints, Vent-a-Fume, and Enkaustikos Wax Art Supplies.


Throughout the conference weekend there are several exhibitions that tie to the conference including two on the Main Campus of Castle Hill.  Sense of Place juried by Patricia Maranda will run in Castle Hill’s Main Gallery from May 23-June 9th with an opening reception on June 1st from 4-6pm and a closing reception on June 8th from 4-6pm.  A sense of place is something that we ourselves create in the course of time.  It is the result of habit or custom.  A sense of place is reinforced by what might be called a sense of recurring events.  

The Space Between Shadow and Light will be on exhibit in Castle Hill’s Gallery X from June 1st-9th with an opening reception on June 1st from 4-6pm and a closing reception on June 8th from 4-6pm.  In this exhibition, the medium has been used in such a way that you can feel the push and pull that the artists have created between movement and still, edges and planes, which contributes to the powerful expression of the work.  Participating artists include Paula Roland, Toby Sission, Pat Spainhoyr, Christine Aaron and Debra Claffey.

From May 11th through June 4th the Cape Cod Museum of Art is featuring the exhibition Depth Perception: Painting in Wax.  Depth Perception refers not only to the physical way three-dimensional work is experienced but to the way a two-dimensional surface can be developed to suggest dimension, either through perspective on a flat plane or by the buildup of the surface into high or low relief. Curators Cherie Mittenthal and Joanne Mattera have selected 19 sculptors and painters whose work expresses this idea. All of these artists are masters of encaustic—pigmented wax—a translucent medium that enhances the experience of depth perception because it can suggest an optical aspect far greater than the physical thickness of the medium itself.

The opening reception for this exhibition is May 26th from 5:30-7pm and a closing celebration on June 4th from 5:30-7pm.  The work in the exhibition is from 19 artists including sculptors and painters who paint in the medium of pigmented wax.  “For artists, encaustic is just the paint we choose to work with,” says Joanne Mattera. “Pigment is suspended in beeswax rather than oil or acrylic and has very different qualities from these other paints.  Artist’s love working with encaustic because it has luminosity like no other paint.  It seems to give off an inner glow.”

There are also several exhibitions taking place in Provincetown including Photosynthesis at the Julie Heller Gallery East.  This exhibition will run from June 2nd through 8th  with an opening reception on June 2nd from 7-9pm, the exhibition was co-curated by Lia Rothstein and Sherrie Posternak.  It is showcasing artwork exploring the expressive qualities of image making and wax.  This exhibition was proposed to encourage artists to conceive and propose exhibitions that reflect their own aesthetic while engaging other artists in a conceptual and visual language.  Participating artists include Fran Forman, Wayne Montecalvo, Sherrie Posternak, Pattie Russotti, Lia Rothstein and Janise Vntema.

A juried show by Francine D’Olimpio called: Alternative Wax: Layers of Truth will be running from June 2nd -8th at Kobalt Gallery with an opening reception on June 2nd from 7-9pm.  This exhibition features 40 encaustic artists as well as a solo show of new work by Kobalt artist Cherie Mittenthal.  The exhibition features works that are introspective and engaging – interpretations of this politically charged theme show offer equal doses of both humor and horror regarding America’s new reality.  During the 2016 presidential campaign a number of new catch phrases were coined into history – including “alternative facts”.  Alternative Wax embodies the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words”— each piece offering a volume of personal insight within each layer of wax. 

Adam Peck Gallery will be exhibiting Encaustic Invitational: Black Tie (optional) that will run from May 31 - June 6 with an opening reception June 2.  The 52 artists working with encaustic have been invited to celebrate the first major show of the new Adam Peck Gallery location.  This exhibit is a mix of returning artists as well as artists new to the gallery. Black Tie (optional) is, of course, a nod to our celebration and to all of us as artists. Art has been and will continue to be the medium that brings new vision and inspiration in times of stress and crisis. Art is our beacon, our light at the end of the tunnel.


Before and after the conference, Castle Hill is offering 23 workshops, from beginning encaustic to painting the figure, Advanced Practices, Cynanotype & Encaustic, Fired Up, Mixed Media Printmaking, Wax, Yupo, Washi: Encaustic Collagraphs, Wax, wire and fiber, Encaustic and still life, working with Metals, Composition and Collage and many more! These 2 weeks of intensive one, two or three day workshops are taught by the best in the field.

Castle Hill is looking forward to beginning another summer season with this one of a kind exciting weekend.  To find out more about the 11th International Encaustic Conference or any of our pre or post conference workshops visit our blog at https://www.castlehill.org/11th-international-encaustic-conference.

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