Responding in chroma lifted from these shifting visions, the crisp minimalist color fields of Whitcraft’s work continues the conversation, raising the discussion to a sphere of colors capturing the essence of each pair of Schiffman’s encaustic works. While the shifting reality of landmarks in Icelandic geography continues in tandem with the pandemic, Schiffman imports a range of foreign life forms and elements into the landscapes–challenging the sense of reality of a known space. Whitcraft responds to these encaustic forays with digitally created elegant color fields printed on Hahnemuhle Museum Etching paper, a perfect counterpoint to Schiffman’s intense multi-layered encaustic works on wood. This is a visual journey with two artists working in vastly different styles across the same landscape.
An exhibition of new encaustic paintings and digital art by Wo Schiffman and Davey Whitcraft that confronts complex perceptions of place, belonging, and isolation. Created during the past year and a half, this visual conversation between the two artists explores changing perceptions of place during isolation through images of specific places in Iceland. Based on visits to Iceland over the past fifty years, Schiffman’s richly colored abstract landscapes offer idealistic vistas of glaciers, seascapes, valleys, thermal pools, and forests paired with post-apocalyptic visions of the same locations developed throughout the deepening pandemic. Painted continuously throughout the pandemic, idyllic portrayals of a location slide into apocalyptic visions of isolated desolation as the reality of isolation challenged memories and connections to beloved places.
My work is inspired by blue-water racing on the open seas and wilderness explorations across six continents. As an oil and encaustic painter, I use wax, ink, and oil pigments on wood, washi paper, and stone. The daughter of NASA scientists, my education explored not only art but also questions in Physics and Philosophy. I hold a BA in Philosophy from John Carroll University, with concentrated atelier art study in Scandinavia and the US including the Art Students League of NY.
The American West’s vast visuality - of light and space - led me to pursue the visual arts. I hold an MFA from the University of California at Los Angeles and a BFA from California College of the Arts. My practice is rooted in observation, translation, and conversation, and has benefitted from a wide range of methods and processes, including teaching, writing, and learning. My work brought me from California to Amsterdam (2012-2016), then New York (2016-2019), and back to California. In 2017 I began working on a PhD which investigates machine vision and visual theory.