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Diamonds Hidden within the Sawdust
Bobbie Allen

excerpt from article: . . . There's festival-regular Marsh Scott. Scott works in a remarkably varied set of media, including oil on canvas, mixed media, encaustic and sculpting with paper or steel. Nevertheless, Scott produces a remarkably consistent style of expression. Her range of media gives her work a variety within that consistency.

MarkingsScott uses, for instance, a fairly narrow palette range. The colors are warm and mellow, even when she uses high values of red or green. She works in abstract forms, except for her sculptures, which are representative (somehow, even the steel seems warm, probably because they are positive or negative cutouts). Two smaller canvases, "Verdant Woods" and "Looking for Order," are highly textured with impressive underpainting and glaze work. "Looking for Order" uses a surprising combination of grays and mallard greens, and much use of gesso and modeling paste beneath. Both have a sense of movement about them without the chaos often found in abstracts. Scott has a range of objects on view at the Sawdust this year, but seeing encaustic out in the open air presents an unusual opportunity. Encaustic is an ancient method involving layers of wax built up and sculpted on a hard surface. Scott works with the panels laid flat, which allows for a denser build up of layers. Markings detail

This, in combination with Scott's neutral palette, produces an interesting sheen and texture in her work. "Markings" (48x72) is an outstanding example of this. You would suspect certain heaviness with such a technique, but this panel seems almost like a window. Many layers have created a deep translucency. A simple sepia-toned square rides in the middle of taupes, whites and yellows in the underpainting. Sharper brown lines cross through the field of color. It is, you could say, a negative of a Rothko-neutrals instead of vibrant primaries, texture rather than glaze, definition instead of blending. But it has a similar, romantic effect. And the unusual shimmer of the wax on the surface makes a very individual statement that is lovely in natural light, as if you were looking through oiled parchment paper. When you stop by, ask Scott about her working methods. She will enthusiastically discuss them with you.
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* BOBBIE ALLEN is a poet and writer who has taught art theory and criticism. She currently teaches at Saddleback College.

The Coastline Pilot
July 25, 2003


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