New Work: Concealment Series

Concealment Series. Encaustic & handmade cotton paper laminate. © Haley Nagy.

In my new work the fusion of encaustic and hand papermaking is used to explore the idea of the “hidden”.

Read on for my mini-artist statement…

As an artist, I am very interested in the concealed and disguised elements of our culture. These are the things that are “seen but not heard” or that “go on behind closed doors”. For example, my series about homelessness dealt with the idea of the “invisibility” of an entire population of people.

In my recent work I am exploring the concept of the “invisible” in a more abstract manner by embedding (or “hiding”) encaustic paint shavings inside layers of handmade paper. The hidden elements in these works are then revealed to the viewer in varying degrees. In the work “Conceal”, the paint is only recognizable by the surface evidence of its texture. In the work “Reveal” I heated the paper (a replica of the piece titled “Conceal”) until the paint melted inside, partially absorbed the paper and literally “blossomed” forth from within. In this case, although the paint is somewhat evident from outside, the image cannot be really seen until it is “activated” by shining light through it. This is how the viewer uncovers what what was hidden.

One Interpretation…

Many find religious significance in this interpretation of my work. For example, the idea of the “hidden” in my Concealment Series can be likened to that of “faith” or the “holy spirit”. Both are concepts that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Much like the hidden paint within my paper, faith too must be sought after to be found. Since the transmission of faith has traditionally been aided by the vehicle of the written word, it seems only appropriate that this artwork is too on paper. Furthermore, the seemingly random layout of the paints resembles a loose cross-like structure, which lends an even more religious reading to the works.

Other Interpretations…

It is my hope that these pieces may serve as a catalyst for dialogue across a variety of disciplines. I would love to hear what you think these works are about and what they mean to you.