Artist: Donna Hamil Talman  
  Statement: PRIMAL
Artist residencies allow opportunities for experimentation; those abroad usually encourage limitation of materials; mine in rural Italy also meant limited access to new supplies.
This Primal series came about because I either used up or wasn’t pleased with my adventures in other media I had brought with me. Though I had never used ink, I discovered I loved its richness, its potential for variation, the way it moved on the paper, the ways this paper absorbed it.
The forms in Primal emerged when I liked what I saw as I poured the ink and moved the paper, and I took on those limitations as a challenge. I discovered I liked living on the boundary between control and losing it.
The forms that emerged seemed primitive and elemental, like the ancient dolmens I encountered in fields there, and the pre-historic shapes found in the tiny local natural history museum. The three artist residents from Taiwan talked about China’s long history of poured or ink wash painting. I discovered I had inadvertently achieved one of my goals for the residency: to loosen up, to allow more spontaneity in my art, to allow more of the process to be visible.
In the end I additionally contemporized the forms with my own more determined marks and added texture and color with the other media I had brought to explore: cold wax and water-based encaustic.

Of Things Unseen
The way life of the land evolves has always fascinated me. With the passage of time–hundreds of millions of years for the earth–some things wear; others endure. Erosion shapes, wearing away what is fragile, leaving that which won’t yield.
“Of Things Unseen” began with photos of marine fossils. Then layers of hot encaustic encased those historic references. The heating and cooling involved in applying encaustic parallels that of the planet’s crust. Other layers, bright with color and an architectural feel, are added and scraped away. They create new stories, give new life, and mimic the way we humans mark up the earth’s surface.
Appreciation of the ways we humans have affected natural evolutionary processes heighten attention to the ways in which we must keep making livable the very creation we need for life itself.

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