Current exhibition

  • Umlaut Machine: Selected Visual Works by Christian Bök
    Opening November 18, 2009
    November 1 - December 20, 2009

Past exhibitions


STRATA: Encaustic Paintings
by Lorraine Glessner
Opening Tuesday, November 27, 2008 at 7 PM

Demonstration at the Rotunda (4014 Walnut)
Sunday, December 2, 1 PM

The artist will demonstrate of the encaustic technique, including information on tools, waxes, paints and application techniques. A brief presentation on the history and contemporary applications of the medium will supplement.

Encaustic (which also goes by "hot wax painting") is an ancient technique, dating back to the ancient Egyptian mummy portraits and Greek murals. In modern practice, artists have appropriated the medium for painting, using a process which entails heat tools for melting and cooling waxen paint, and then manipulating it. Metal tools or special brushes can shape and/or texture the substance (layers of which can be anywhere from thin to relief-map thick). One may even affix objects (such as coat hangers, or light bulbs) into the wax, as Jasper Johns is known for doing. In recent years, encaustic has become one of the most exciting and versatile mediums available to the contemporary artist. Its luminosity, tactility, color and textural possibilities are unmatched by any other medium.

Seed II
Seed II


"Experience is never limited and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spiderweb of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every airborne particle in its tissue." —Henry James

All living things leave a physical mark; a stain or imprint through the natural cycle of creation and birth, life, growth, death, and the regeneration of life through decomposition. The cyclic nature of the earth and our bodies serve to jog the mind, to remind us of the desire to seek progress within cycle, and to measure that progress against the repetitive constant. Marks on the surfaces of the earth, the body and within urban environments serve as a visual narrative that speaks to this cycle, while also referencing personal, political and cultural histories. Sidewalks, building facades, interior and public spaces of the city read as a palimpsest on which these histories and narratives are written. Layers of holes, cracks, smudges, graffiti and signage that form the urban landscape intermingle and merge to create an iconography significant to the present, yet allude to both the past and future.

Just as this process takes place, the notion of imprinting, staining and marking is realized in my work by applying layers of encaustic medium to fabric and found paper that has been subjected to branding, rusting, burying, decomposition, or exposure to the elements. Rubbings, drawings and images taken from billboards, buildings, streets and sidewalks of the city are merged together with the stained materials along with my own intuitive responses to them in paint. In a continuous process of accumulation, concealment and removal, the layers of material create new narratives, which look through and into time, thus reminding us of perpetuation, death and regeneration.

My intent is to follow and record these marks as evidence of the spectacle and complexity of human activity and the poetic violence that is life.


Lorraine Glessner received an MFA in Fibers from Temple University, Tyler School of Art, where she is currently an Assistant Professor in the Fibers area. She holds a BS in Textile Design from Philadelphia University and an Associate's Degree in Computer Graphics from Moore College of Art and Design. Recent awards include a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Individual Creative Artist Fellowship Grant in Crafts, a Nancie Mattice Emerging Artist Award from Dangenart Gallery, Nashville, TN and Third Place in Painting at Art of the State, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA. Recent exhibitions include Fiberart International, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Second Annual Encaustic Invitational, Conrad Wilde Gallery, Tucson, Arizona and Nexus, Red Star Studio Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri. Her work is also included in the recently released Mixed Media Collage by Hollie Harrison and the September, 2007 issue of Fiberarts Magazine. Glessner lectures, teaches, exhibits work nationally. She lives and maintains a studio in Philadelphia, PA. See for further information and images.


Paper Walls II
Paper Walls II

Falling, Fallen
Falling, Fallen

Silk Floors All
Silk Floors All