Arlene Piacquadio Mixed Media, Encaustic Painter

       Arlene Piacquadio has developed her artwork in many different mediums, but since moving to Rhode Island in 2012 and attending classes at RISD, she began a new passion for Encaustics. Monotypes, collage and painting are incorporated in her current work.

       An ancient process using beeswax and pigments, the term encaustic literally means "to burn in" and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans for funeral portraits. Any true beeswax, resin and pigment painting involves heat to fuse the layers. Heat acts as the invisible solvent much as turpentine acts as an evaporating solvent for oil painting. As a painting material, beeswax and resin reveals a subtlety rarely found in artificially manufactured materials.

       Piacquadio began painting abstractly in 1960, but used the primacy of line and color then that reflected principles of design rather than a visual representation. Now her style aligns with "Lyrical Abstraction" which began in the 1960's and 70's, following the challenge of Minimalism and Conceptual art. Many artists began to move away from geometric, hard-edge, and minimal styles, gravitating toward more lyrical, sensuous, romantic abstractions and working in loose gestures.

       "Lyrical Abstraction has something to say," explained Arlene, "and often takes on the dynamics of psychological exploration." While her paintings may vary widely in visual effect, all share a similar intent - to evoke feelings of essence and that all-important connection to higher, more esoteric worlds. Her choice to use beeswax, with attention to its ancient history, also refers to the fragility of our environment. The delicate beauty of nature is inherent in Arlene Piacquadio's work.