AUGUST ENCAUSTICS. Above, the Starkweather Arts Center will feature the abstract works of Richmond resident Micki Buksar Cecil during its August show. The show will run from Aug. 5 to 27, with an opening reception from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5. Cecil does encaustic painting, which involves heating up a mixture of beeswax, resin and colored pigments and applying it to wood or canvas.
(Photo courtesy of Kristin Barr)
SAC Aug show features
unique painting style
by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
A unique spin on a unique form of painting will color the Starkweather Arts Center gallery at its August show.
The earthy, abstract art of Micki Buksar Cecil will be featured from Aug. 5 to 27, with a free opening reception set for 7-9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5.
Starkweather Art Director Kristin Barr said she came across Cecil's work at a 2010 graduation show at the College for Creative Studies (CCS). Cecil's use of the encaustic style of painting made her stand out as one of the top students in Barr's mind.
"Her work all has this really rich color, and I think it has something to do with the medium," Barr said.
Encaustic painting, also called hot wax painting, is an ancient technique wherein an artist heats up a mixture of beeswax, resin and colored pigments and applies it to wood or canvas. The wax can then be shaped using brushes and heated tools.
The majority of Cecil's works for the show have been created specifically for the August exhibit as opposed to featuring her older pieces.
Barr said she not only wants to continue bringing in artists who are more contemporary, but those who are constantly creating new works of art.
"Retrospectives are great in their own way to show an artist's history, but to have a concept for our own space and audience is really great," said Barr.
Cecil has created 33 pieces of different-sized art for the Starkweather show. Normally, her artwork has a theme, such as exploring Baroque and Rococo architecture, but this show inspired her to have a more "eclectic" approach.
"It's not one concept in general, in fact it's more a love of the process," she said. "It's kind of taken a life of its own."
In her abstracts, Cecil uses everything from rusty pieces of metal to her 3-year-old daughter's works of art.
"Ever since she could hold any kind of pen or marker or crayon I've collected all her markings and drawing and use them in layers of my paintings," she said.
Cecil, a Richmond resident, obtained a double major of fine art and art education from CCS. She said she originally pursued a career as a graphic artist, but later turned her focus to education. She currently teaches at Grosse Pointe South High School and CCS.
She said she was always interested in art from as far back as she could remember, earning her the nickname of "Doodle-Bug" from her family.
"It started off as `Doodle-Bug' and then it went to `Doodles' and now they call me `Doods,'" she said with a laugh. "It has grown with me as I've grown."
Like the encaustic process, her style is a mixture of fascinations. Cecil said she likes using earthy tones and softer lines because she likes the way they look, but also because of a fascination with the looks of aged materials.
"I have tended to go toward a certain palette," she said. "It's influenced by metals and the way wood will look over a certain time."
Starkweather has seen an increase in contemporary artists and styles. In terms of abstract art, Barr said audiences can see the contrast between Cecil's soft tones when compared to the hard-edged, cool-colored work by Ian Swanson the center featured in May.
"Each artist has their own thumbprint, abstract or not, and Micki has her own distinct style," said Barr.
Starkweather Arts Center is open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.