The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery’s first installation of the new school year is “Jenny Bye: An Encaustic Collection.” Jenny Bye’s simple collection is embedded from a unique design technique using beeswax.
Encaustic painting is a form of painting unlike that of watercolor or acrylics. The beeswax is melted down and pigment added to create color.
“I found out about it about 10 years ago in Santa Fe,” Bye said. “I saw a woman’s exhibit, and I watched a little film watching her do her encaustic art, and I said I [have] got to learn how to do that.”
This dimension of painting has been popularized in recent years; however, it dates back centuries.
“It’s a super old medium. It’s about 2,000 years old. Egyptians used it to paint—after people had died—portraits of them, and put it in their tombs with them.”
Bye works on her creations in a studio at her house in Sioux Falls.
Bye has been showcased in the exhibit once before, two years ago, during the gallery’s Reformation exhibit. Gallery director Linsey Twa approached Bye with the idea of showcasing more of her work.
“I think the biggest goal that artists have is to be able to show their work, to have a place to exhibit it,” Bye said. “If I just didn’t get it out there, it would just pile up and pile up.”
At first glance, Bye’s paintings may appear similar to each other, however, once the viewer steps closer, the many elements Bye includes in her pieces become apparent.
“It’s not just the pigment and beeswax,” Twa said. “A lot of these are a collage. So there are additional materials imbedded in the layers.”
“At first glance it is similar color palettes, similar textures, but it asks the viewer then to stay within that self-similarity to actually see the distinctiveness between all the paintings,” Twa said.
Some pieces that really showcase Bye’s adaptable design are “Opening Doors” and “Balancing Act.” Her piece “Dot to Dot” reminds viewers of searching for constellations in the night sky
Bye said it reminded her of childhood and drawing on dot-to-dot puzzles.
During the gallery’s exhibit, Bye will teach a class on encaustic painting to some of Tom Shields’ art students. The students will learn to melt down wax to make similar creations to Bye’s work.
The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Bye’s reception will be held in the gallery Sept. 20, at 7 p.m.
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