Anderson Gallery exhibiting “The Divas and Iron Chefs of Encaustic”

By Phillip Ranallo
VCU Insight

RICHMOND, Va.–The Anderson Gallery’s newest exhibit, “The Divas and Iron Chefs of Encaustic” features modern technology and ancient techniques.

The exhibition features eight contemporary artists working in the medium of encaustic, and “Landscapes without Memory”, featuring large-scale prints of landscape images generated by computer software.

Reni Gower, a VCU professor of painting and printmaking who organized the exhibit, says the title was meant to be humorous.


“The name was meant to reference the TV show, “Iron Chefs”,” Gower said. “I wanted it to not just be male based gender, so the divas represent the female side of things.”

Gower said her personal interest in the ancient art of encaustic goes back more than 30 years. She has demonstrations in her classes to show how encaustic art is made.

“Encaustic is the combination of working with it hot and then fusing it together with another heat source,” Gower said.

Gower has six works featured in the exhibit, which has also appeared at the Ingram Studio Galleries at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.; the UTSA Gallery at the University of Texas-San Antonio; the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas and the Emerson Gallery, McLean Project for the Arts in McLean, Va.

Ashley Kistler, Director of the Anderson Gallery, said she is happy with the outcome of this exhibit so far.

“I would very much like to engage the larger community of Richmond,” Kistler said. “Beyond that, regionally, nationally, and even internationally as well.”

The artists represented in the exhibition are Gower, Kristy Deetz (DePere, Wis.), Peter Dykhuis (Bedford, Nova Scotia), Lorraine Glessner (Rockledge, Penn.), Cheryl Goldsleger (Athens, Ga.), Heather Harvey (Big Stone Gap, Va.), Jeffrey S. Hirst (Minneapolis) and Timothy McDowell (West Mystic, Conn.).

Gower said she is pleased with the response to the exhibit.

“I think the show, the demo, and the panel did a good job,” Gower said. “It’s been a success, I’m very happy with everything that’s happened.”

The exhibit will be featured at VCU’s Anderson Gallery through Dec. 7. The exhibition is free and open to the viewing public.

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