Visual Arts Program
Robert Treat "Recent Encaustic Works"
The exhibition, on display in the gallery of the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library, runs from September 4 to October 14, 2007.
Robert Treat's considerable talents range from architectural design to being an award-winning animator and animation director for some of television's major producers. Always driven to experimentation, Treat, in the early 1990s, began using the medium of encaustic* to create abstract paintings. He was captivated, in particular, by the unique (and sensuous) physical and visual properties of the medium. Treat's imagery is elegant and eccentric, and largely inspired by nature and natural forms. Working intuitively, he strives for ambiguity in terms of representation and symbolism; consciously rejecting what he describes as "the tight and controlled line work and obvious narrative characteristics" of the animated films that have played a major role in his life. Still, however, Treat's paintings are infused with touches of playfulness and joy. Also, a kinship between Treat's art and that of Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, and Richard Diebenkorn (major influences on the artist) can be seen. Augmenting the paintings in this exhibition are more than a dozen stunning drawings and monotype prints that have never been exhibited. - M. Lugo
* Although the public is generally unfamiliar with encaustic (molten beeswax mixed with pigments and other substances), it is one of the most durable painting media ever invented, and has been used by artists since ancient Greek and Roman times. Over the centuries in Western art, interest in encaustic has enjoyed periodic revivals, but, in general, tempera, fresco, oil paint and, more recently, acrylics, have been the dominant choices of artists. The rediscovery of encaustic by modern and contemporary masters ranging from Diego Rivera to Jasper Johns and Julian Schnabel, has awakened today's artists to its versatility and aesthetic attributes.