December 2 - January 29
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
San Luis Obispo, CA
During the process of creating, artists often unearth stories from their memories. A testament to the many facets of personal family history, Bloodlines is an exhibition of encaustic artworks by Flo Bartell on view at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art's McMeen Gallery from December 2, 2016 — January 29, 2017.
Now in her seventies, Bartell examines what advancing age means in her life and art. She translates this new awareness using encaustic media, adding sculptural, three-dimensional objects like wire mesh armatures, plaster gauze, fabric, and organic matter. The opaque, shadowy nature of the wax and the layered elements represent the effects of time passing. The neutral palettes that appear old or rusty imply the richness and depth of aging.
Initially, the series was deeply personal; Bartell was unintentionally painting her secrets and reactions to life events. The work exposes her scars, experiences, and evolution into the present moment. Questioning what her new work was attempting to say, she realized that her family, especially the women of her family, deeply influenced her own story. Re-reading old essays about them, she was struck by their strength and determination to succeed in careers, goals, and their appreciation of the arts. Using these stories, traditional crafts, and symbolic objects, Bartell has preserved her family legacy in wax.