The late Nancy Graves, a sculptor who used wax in her constructions of camels and other animal figures, produced a series of mixed-media paintings with encaustic in the late seventies. At the same time, Michelle Stuart, who had been making installations and large-scale works imbued with earth she dug herself added wax to the mix. More precisely, she says "I added earth to the wax- unlike mud, wax doesn't dry and fall apart." Working modularly on muslin-backed paper, Stuart applied pigmented wax with a palette knife and fused it with an iron, a modus operandi she continues to develop (along with a growing collection of garage-sale irons). Stuart has also created installations of non-encaustic beeswax sculptures.
In the eighties and into the nineties, wax as a metaphorical "skin" was much in evidence, particularly in the sculptural works of Mia Westerlund Roosen, Elisa D'Arrigo, and Byron Kim, as well as in the mixed-media paintings of the late Elaine Anthony, who worked her surface with an ethereal scrim of wax.
Taken, with permission, from The Art of Encaustic Painting, by Joanne Mattera.