Scherman, Tony

At a time when pop art was still prevalent and conceptualism was on the rise in the 1970s, Scherman opted for imagery and figuration, working exclusively on the rare technique of encaustic. His paintings and works are intertwined throughout the history of art. Over the past thirty years, portraiture has become a major theme with his contemporary meditations spanning villains and celebrities, famous people, and intellectuals.

Born in Toronto in 1950, Scherman spent his childhood and youth in Paris, Europe, and then London from 1955. His father, Paul, was a conductor and violinist in Canada, Europe, and England. In 1974, Scherman graduated from the Royal College of Art in London and returned to Toronto in 1976. He has had over one hundred solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, and China.

His encaustic painting method combines pigments and wax to create multi-layered works. The densely built-up, dripping wax surface gives the work a visceral edge and a remarkable sense of depth. Scherman is considered the greatest exponent of the encaustic medium. The structured appearance and the visible brushwork of his pieces give them an animal immediacy.

His style allows him to get closer to people and the history of art. He tries to open several orders of magnitude. In the book The aesthetics of emotion: up the down staircase of the mind-body, Scherman explains how he understands the observation of his portraits by buying them with the observation of a tree: When you look at a tree, the leaves are growing and then they disappear in a few months. The branch has been around for a year or two and the trunk for seventy years. You are seeing all of this at once, experiencing several orders of magnitude at the same time. You think you are seeing the tree, but in fact you see several trees at the same time. That’s basically what happens in his paintings. All the different levels of magnitude and time are compressed into a single space.

Scherman sees encaustic painting without limits. Some of the brush marks are transparent, so you can go much further than with oil. At the Royal College, London, he began drawing with wax crayons and his tutor, John Golding, invited him to try encaustic. You found this technique challenging and when you paint with encaustic you imagine it like looking at a marble floor and realizing that swirls of color were once liquid and you are seeing the last moment of the liquid, the fractal in which it occurred.

Wax solidifies in seconds and when it dries to the surface, it sets it. Unlike oil painting, there is a time constraint and he has to make executive decisions at speeds he normally would never have and there is no turning back. Once the wax is dry, he has to step back and see if his decision was correct. He puts the next brushstroke and begins to build the work. He also grabs a knife and scrapes a bit. It is a kind of archeology with accumulation of sediments, scraping and adding until the area that he is painting is resolved.

For Scherman, the experience of painting in encaustic is very slow and completely choppy at once – cleaning the hot palette, redoing the wax, and adding the color takes time, but then it’s super fast because the colors can change on the palette as you go. they get hot and may change on the canvas as they cool. This is the worst medium to work with, but when mastered, the payoff is enormous. This duality of the encaustic medium creates the conditions to look into the painting. It does not resolve itself, but rather creates a sense of depth in the art and invites emotion.

Art can become a transitional object for people, for collectors, even for a museum. Some people return to the same paintings, installations, or videos over and over again. People are drawn to him because he acts as a transitional object. They have a subconscious conversation with this piece and it helps them negotiate the world in the same way that a child has a conversation with his blanket. The transition object is always found, never created. The child finds the blanket or the doll. The fact that she is there is very important. People find art all the time. In the depths of the encaustic, they find their transitional objects and the accessories are fixed.

In his series The Cream of Denmark (See the picture below), Scherman has gone from biographical to fictional portraiture. He reveals the protagonists of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as seen from the point of view of the main character. Like snapshots taken for a photo album, portraits have simple, explanatory captions. His trademark bleak style lends itself well to the mental decline and brooding, distrustful mentality of literature’s favorite antihero. Scherman’s vision of what he calls the “work that starts out badly and gets worse” draws heavily on the artist’s life experiences. He shares with viewers an emotional intimacy that touches on themes of love, betrayal, and depression. The perspective of each work reveals as much as the subjects themselves, and leaves them open to a multitude of possible interpretations. The characters are neither good nor bad, their beauty and their flaws overlap in broad strokes. The world Scherman describes seems to follow Hamlet’s mandate to “represent reality, holding up a mirror for virtue, vice, and the spirit of the age.”

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Gruber, Joni

Joni Gruber earned her BFA in Drawing and Painting from The Ohio State University.  Her paintings, prints, mixed media and photographic work have been widely exhibited in solo and group shows across the US, including Global Warming is REAL at the Museum of Encaustic Art in 2017 and B14, the biennial exhibition at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in 2014.  She was featured in Studio Visit, Volume 26, 2014.  Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Encaustic Art in Santa Fe, NM and the The Hyde Bridge Gallery, Yeats Memorial Building located in Sligo, Ireland.

As a lifelong environmentalist, landscapes and elements of the natural world are prominent subject matter.   Some of her work focuses upon the ravages that unbridled capitalism, the continued use of fossil fuels, unethical and undemocratic use of technology and greed have waged upon the natural world.    She’s also a big sci-fi fan. 

Joni works in her studio in Tuscaloosa, AL. Her artwork resides in private and public collections around the world.


An encaustic monotype is a one-of-a-kind, hand-pulled fine art print.  Basically it is a painting transferred to paper. My monotypes are created on a heated aluminum palette then transferred to paper by hand burnishing with a baren.  I also create mixed media pieces using monotype collage and painting.  I print on a variety of papers including handmade, Japanese and archival printmaking papers. When printing on black or colored papers I often use metallic paint to develop a shagreen texture with pronounced dimensionality.  

My paintings are created with encaustic which is both an ancient method and medium consisting of pigment suspended in beeswax.  Encaustic is melted on an aluminum palette at 200 F then quickly applied in its molten state to wood panels using natural bristle brushes.  Each layer is fused with a heat gun or torch.  Through scraping, incising and accretion I am able to reveal multiple layers or raise a thick textured surface. Image transfers of my photographs, mixed media and drawing are also utilized. Generous amounts of iridescent paint provide shimmer while mica and dry earth pigments create more distinct, complex and linear imagery.  

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Roberts, Dale

Born 1959 in Waterville NY, I attended Waterville Central High School and graduated in 1977. At Rochester Institute of Technology, I studied foundation art and majored in painting and drawing. During my sophomore year, a faculty member recommended I study painting in RIT’s graduate program along with the required sophomore schedule.

After obtaining my Associates degree in 1978 from RIT I then transferred to the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, continuing as a fine arts major. In 1981 I earned my BFA in painting with Cum Laude honors. I also received the prestigious Rohm and Haas Purchase Prize for excellence in painting.

Following graduation, I taught art for more than 15 years at various levels. At a Philadelphia private school I was chair of the fine arts department and instructor for grades 7-12. I later taught at Arcadia University as an adjunct professor in drawing and painting. Several of my students continue to win prizes and show at notable fine art galleries in Scottsdale, the U.S. and abroad.

​​​My exhibition record includes many juried shows and several national competitions. Galleries from Philadelphia, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and Atlanta have handled my work with numerous one-person shows. I’ve also participated in juried museum exhibitions around the country. My work is in many public and private collections in the U.S., Canada and London. I was a Fine Arts Juror for the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and was the subject of a Public television documentary in 2002. 

I have participated in multiple panel discussions related to encaustic painting and have delivered museum lectures on related subjects.

I reside with my family near Philadelphia, where I maintain my studio.

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And videos here

Encaustic brief history

The word encaustic originates from the Greek word enkaustikos which means to burn in, and this element of heat is necessary for a painting to be called encaustic.

This technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100–300 AD, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century North American artists, including Jasper Johns, Tony Scherman, Mark Perlman, and Fernando Leal Audirac. Kut-kut, a lost art of the Philippines, employs sgraffito and encaustic techniques. It was practiced by the indigenous tribe of Samar island around 1600 to 1800. Artists in the Mexican muralism movement, such as Diego Rivera[4] and Jean Charlot sometimes used encaustic painting. The Belgian artist James Ensor also experimented with encaustic.

The wax encaustic painting technique was described by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder in his Natural History from the 1st Century AD. The oldest surviving encaustic panel paintings are the Romano-Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits from the 1st Century BC.

In the 20th century, painter Fritz Faiss (1905–1981), a student of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky at the Bauhaus, together with Dr. Hans Schmid, rediscovered the so-called “Punic wax” technique of encaustic painting. Faiss held two German patents related to the preparation of waxes for encaustic painting. One covered a method for treating beeswax so that its melting point was raised from 60 to 100 °C (140 to 212 °F). This occurred after boiling the wax in a solution of sea water and soda three successive times. The resulting harder wax is the same as the Punic wax referred to in ancient Greek writings on encaustic painting.

Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated styli on different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery. The iron makes producing a variety of artistic patterns easier. The medium is not limited to just simple designs; it can be used to create complex paintings, just as in other media such as oil and acrylic. Although technically difficult to master, attractions of this medium for contemporary artists are its dimensional quality and luminous color.

Rivera, Diego

Diego Rivera, a memorable figure in 20th century art, actively painted during the 50 years from 1907 to 1957. Mexican by birth, Rivera spent a good portion of his adult life in Europe and the United States as well as in his home in Mexico City. Early in his career, he dabbled in Cubism and later embraced Post-Impressionism, but his unique style and perspective is immediately recognizable as his own. He was involved in the world of politics as a dedicated Marxist and joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1922. He hosted Russian exile Leon Trotsky and his wife at his home in Mexico City in the 1930s. Lived in unsettled times and led a turbulent life, Diego Rivera, widely known for his Marxist leanings, along with Marxism Revolutionary Che Guevara and a small band of contemporary figures, has become a countercultural symbol of 20th century, and created a legacy in art that continue to inspire the imagination and mind.

Diego Rivera’s first government-commissioned mural, Creation was created over the course of a year and covers over a thousand square feet. It is an allegorical composition with mythological and religious motifs.The figures in the mural are over twelve feet high, which were in proportion to the huge pipe organ which surrounded the wall. At the top a symbol, which could represent the Divine Trinity with blessing hands.It also follows old Egyptian iconography of Aton, the symbol of the creative sun. At the bottom Eva and Adam. Over them on both sides the nine Muses. And on the next level the Christian Virtues: From the left: Love, Hope and Faith and on the right side: Prudence, Justice and Strength. In the sky Wisdom and Science.Everything is in classical renaissance style, where similar allegories are common. The figures are based on life models. Note that the picture does not have any political, ideological tendency. The painting technique is encaustic, which means that the pigments were applied suspended in molten wax. A complicated technique which the old Egyptians already knew.

Although it was widely popular, Rivera felt that the painting was too Italian in technique, and he did not like it. During the painting of the mural, Rivera felt compelled to carry a pistol with him at all times, to protect himself from the right-wing students.

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Johns, Jasper

Jasper Johns (born May 15, 1930) is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker whose work is associated with abstract expressionism, Neo-Dada, and pop art.

Jasper Johns’s groundbreaking 1958 installation at the Leo Castelli Gallery of his famous target and flag works changed the current of New York painting and had an extraordinary impact on contemporary art. In the paintings, Johns presents images that move into the realm of objects and wrestle with the validity of representation as a philosophical concept. The targets and flags, in the words of critic Leo Steinberg, were “co-extensive” with their canvases, existing somewhere between a symbol and a thing in the world. Not only did these paintings begin Johns’s successful dismantling of modern art through his ironic analysis of structures and rituals, but they also became the innovative new ground on which a generation of painters and sculptors made their work. Johns’s own career spans from the flags, through the device motif in the early 1960s, into the crosshatch paintings of the 1970s, and to his complex, densely layered recent works.

“One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag,” Johns has said of this work, “and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” Those materials included three canvases that he mounted on plywood, strips of newspaper, and encaustic paint—a mixture of pigment and molten wax that has formed a surface of lumps and smears. The newspaper scraps visible beneath the stripes and forty-eight stars lend this icon historical specificity. The American flag is something “the mind already knows,” Johns has said, but its execution complicates the representation and invites close inspection. A critic of the time encapsulated this painting’s ambivalence, asking, “Is this a flag or a painting?”

As Johns explained it, encaustic allowed him to be more efficient and, at the same time, more deliberate in his gestures. In other words, because pigmented wax sets quickly, Johns could add another mark or strip of saturated paper or cloth with the assurance that any previously laid marks would remain unaffected. In this way, each discrete trace was preserved, effectively embalmed.

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Roberts, Verity

Verity paints primarily in encaustic. Originally self-taught in encaustic, over the last decade Verity has attended and participated in numerous workshops, exhibitions and encaustic conferences in the US. Her earlier career was as a film set decorator.

Verity has further adapted the encaustic process, adding media such as wax pencils, digital print transfers and inks. This extraordinarily versatile medium enables the artist to exploit both the opaque and transparent qualities of the wax by layering it – this being a particular feature of the encaustic process. Whether smooth and translucent or thickly textural, the wax forms an emotionally charged surface.

Her inspiration derives from her travels – her travelscapes – recollections both vivid and allusive are built over time. Each painting with its complex layered surface aims to elicit a response: reshaping its own new history.

She spends time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where she is represented by Calderoni Studio in Fábrica La Aurora. She exhibits in Sydney at Art2Muse Gallery and is collected both in Australia and intenationally.

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Dyck, Aganetha

Aganetha Dyck is a Canadian artist who is interested in environmental issues, specifically the power of the small. She is interested in inter species communication. Her research asks questions about the ramifications all living beings would experience should honeybees disappear from earth.

Dyck is using apiary feeder boards and hive blankets to develop her new body of work.

Aganetha Dyck was born in Marquette, Manitoba in 1937 and was raised in a Mennonite community. She moved with her husband and children to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 1972, where she began to take courses at local art centres. From 1974 to 1976 she continued to raise her family while attending Prince Albert Community College in Saskatchewan. Moving her family back to Winnipeg in 1976, she worked on her art and later furthered her study of art history at the University of Winnipeg from 1980 to 1982.

Dyck’s early work is described as transforming domestic processes into fine art, thereby validating activities that are traditionally considered feminine. In her early work, Dyck used household materials such as buttons, wool fabrics, and cigarettes. A Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibition of Dyck’s work featured several hundred jars of buttons prepared and cooked using different culinary techniques.

Dyck is best known for her work with live honeybees, who she collaborated with between 1991 to 2010. Dyck placed interesting objects into beehives, or beehives into objects, and allowed the bees to build honeycomb on the objects, sometimes over the course of years. Her interest is in the inter-communication between species and would direct the bees to make their honeycomb marks on the objects by painting with perfumes and pheromones.

Dyck is well known for her transformation of commonplace objects such as shoes, buttons and figurines into things which are simultaneously metaphysical, delicate and sometime humorous. She shows us that the “exotic” can be found in the most mundane and everyday of things, if one examines them with an open mind. In one sense, she doesn’t transform an object as much as she liberates objects from familiar contexts, thus imbuing them with greater meaning. Her work is about ideas and thoughts, yet it always remains accessible and alluring to the viewer.

Dyck won the Governor General’s Award in Visual Arts and the Manitoba Arts Council Arts Award of Distinction in 2007.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across Canada and in England, France and the Netherlands. Her work can be found in the collections of such prestigious museums as the National Gallery of Canada, the Glenbow Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Britain.

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Ri, Ren

Ren Ri was born in 1984 in Harbin, China, he studied Fine Art at Tsinghua University and then received his Masters at Saint-Petersburg Herzen State University, Russia. He has a PhD in Fine Art from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Ren Ri has won and been nominated for several international awards and contests in the arts.

Ren Ri’s art is signified by the very special medium he uses: beeswax. Considered an unusual and difficult material to work with Ren Ri’s understanding of bees psychology and nature assist him in his creative process. He works in collaboration with insects to create his mesmerizing sculptures. To manipulate natural processes the artist must find a balance cooperating with nature to accomplish his artistic goals.

The artist’s most famous series – Yuansu I, II and III – are all related to his intimate experiences with bees. Ren Ri started to learn the craft of beekeeping in 2006 and after several years he felt knowledgeable enough to begin using beeswax as his primary medium.

His first series, Yuansu I: The Origin of Geometric Series (2007) incorporates a number of beeswax maps. In his second series he moves from investigating movement to psychology through collaboration between his bees and Ren Ri himself. The artist placed the queen in the middle of the box and let other bees build around her. Every few days he changed the position of the box. Resulting in Yuansu II, a series of stunning geometrical sculptures. Yuansu III is a performance showing the relationships between humans and bees – Ren Ri offers himself as a surface, pushes bees into his face and subsequently gets stung numerous times.

This young artist has been exhibited internationally, exhibitions he has been featured in include: Carve & New Media, 798 Art District, Beijing, China (2007), Fame Di Terra, Milan, Italy, 6th Art Laguna Exhibition, Venice, Italy (both in 2012), Fusion Convergence at T Museum in Hangzhou, China (2014) and Kaiserring Stipendiat 2015: Ren Ri at Mönchehaus Museum, Goslar, Germany in 2015 after he received his Kaiserring Award.

Libertiny, Tomas Gabzdil


Currently living and working in Rotterdam, through his art, Tomáš Libertíny continually explores the beauty and intelligence of nature as well as probing into the existential questions of the human mind.

Born in Slovakia, son of an architect and a historian, he studied at the Technical University Košice in Slovakia focusing on engineering and design. He was awarded George Soros’s Open Society Institute Scholarship to study at The University of Washington in Seattle, where he focused on painting and sculpture. He continued his study at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in painting and conceptual design. After receiving the prestigious Huygens Scholarship, he enrolled in the Masters program at the Design Academy Eindhoven where he received his MFA in 2006.


Libertiny’s fascination with the beauty and intelligence of nature fuels his work with timeless yet relatable emotions. The relationship between Man & Nature, both psychological and physical, serves as a constant source of inspiration.

While embracing today’s advanced methods of design and latest technology to explore and realise his art the works are still marked by the hand of the artist. His use of industrial precision is merely “a means to an end” which enables him to set-up conditions for controlled randomness. His awareness of patterns and repetitions that surround us as well as mesmerising imperfections in nature are at the formal core of his drawings, paintings and sculptural work. Between the lines, he seeks to offer a hint of an answer to the probing existencial questions.

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