Uncovering the layers of wax-based painting
“The Future of the Past: Encaustic Art in the 21st Century,” an expansive show at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery, stands on a firm foundation. Curators Barb Cone and Harriet Chenkin reach back to mid-20th-century Boston as a seminal moment in the US for encaustic – that is, painting with pigmented wax. Encaustic has been around for two millennia, and artists continue to explore its possibilities. Wax can be layered, fused, chiseled, and otherwise manipulated.