Wax Water Oil: New Works by Karl Kaiser & Justin Auld

Join us for a new show featuring the striking works of two Portland artists, each exploring the limits of their chosen medium: Karl Kaiser & Justin Auld.

Saturday July 28th
6 pm to 9 pm

Though Karl & Justin may work in different mediums, there is an unmistakable kinship in their striking use of color and dimensionality.  Both draw inspiration from the patterns and textures of nature, and push their medium to the limits in their unique explorations of perception and form.


Justin Auld

Artist Statement

noun – par·ei·do·lia \ˌper-ˌī-ˈdō-lē-ə, -ˈdōl-yə\

The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.  The scientific explanation for some people is pareidolia, or the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness. Think of the Rorschach inkblot test.

My work explores the phenomenon of pareidolia. The link between what the eyes deliver and what the brain constructs is a loose connection; we perceive images, intent, and patterns where none exist. The brain’s ability to see what is not there yields a fundamental connection to the unknown, and touches the edge of what is possible in our perception. Pareidolia therefore raises doubts on all that we encounter visually. By emphasizing selected forms within random images, my work asks viewers to contend with the thin veil overlaying their understanding of what is real, and invites them to balance on the edge of where visual reality is formed by the mind.

“When you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones … you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes … or, again, you may see battles and figures in action, or strange faces and costumes, or an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well-drawn forms. And these appear on such walls promiscuously, like the sounds of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine.”  – Leonardo da Vinci


Karl W. Kaiser

Artist Statement

I consider encaustic to be my primary medium because of the unique depth and texture it brings to my subjects. I manipulate the wax through scraping, using impressions and smoothing techniques to evoke the complicated but perfect natural world around me that I find through my camera lens. My signature technique is carving into deep multi-colored layers bringing a richness and complexity to the work. It has been described as sculptural and I continue to push the boundaries in that direction. I am drawn to linear abstract themes and carving back through layers of color feeds that inspiration. During my early career, I created series of abstract leaves, petals, and trees using this technique. As my work shows, I am drawn to color (blues, oranges, yellows, reds). I use pigments to make my own paints encompassing the entire color spectrum.  

A new path I am taking with my encaustic is creating spherical abstracts. This came as a complete accident.  A client came to my studio and saw my working table top with colored wax spilled over it. It looked like one big spherical abstract painting and she wanted it for her home. This caused me to explore this idea more and has brought about a new direction for me that compliments my landscapes in color and organic form.

I am also creating a new collection of acrylic paintings that use the same premise of my encaustic technique of layering.


On view through August 22nd

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/432958453780849/