Beth Fox Heisinger
Acrylic on acrylic
I have always been fascinated by translucency, creating visual elements that interact with one another through layers versus sitting on the same visual plane. Perhaps it's from my years as a former brand design director and art director, utilizing computers and screens to visually combine elements to convey a concept, or perhaps it stems from my interest in storytelling and film. Whatever the case may be, I'm always looking for the intriguing subtleties that strike a balance between abstraction and meaning.
After working in encaustics, I began to experiment with extruded acrylic and acrylic paint. I discovered I could create a great sense of depth not only by physically separating elements but because of the surface and reflective quality of the acrylic itself. Elements appear to "float" or glow or reflect in different ways depending on the light source and from what angle and where it is viewed, an illusion.
I achieve this aesthetic by painting on multiple acrylic panels and layering them together, one on top of another, to form a cohesive whole. This layering complicates things, however. It's breaking down and reconstructing in three different ways. Not only am I thinking dimensionally, splitting a piece into three or more distinct and physically separate layers of foreground, midground, and background, but painting each layer in reverse as well. Reverse painting is a 'front to back' way of thinking instead of the usual 'back to front,' say, as when painting on canvas. Instead, the highlight or top stroke is what is seen when looking through the acrylic and must be applied first, not last. It is also thinking and working as a flipped mirror, the painted effect is created on one side of the panel but is viewed through the other. As I said, it's complicated.
Even so, no matter if working abstractly or representationally, an expression or subject matter captured through the interaction of visual elements combined together in this unique form creates a simple, yet effective and meaningful exchange between the art and the viewer. Creating that exchange is what I enjoy most.