2019 July Walker Blankenship FRONT

Antoinette Walker & Beth Blankenship Exhibit, July 2019

Beth Blankenship

“I am exploring how all earthly things are connected by the smallest of threads and how we humans, willfully or unwittingly, alter those connections. My newest work is a series of vessels created using machine embroidery on water-soluble fiber. My desire is to illuminate the fragility of the natural world as well as its beauty, resilience, and strength.”

Antoinette Walker

My work tells a story; I iconize Alaska and my experiences here, both on land and at sea. I express my creativity and experience through coastal marine themes that capture the wild beauty of my home. I work with an encaustic medium, which is a blend of molten beeswax, damar crystals, and pigment.

The inspiration for these paintings is an image of time-worn canneries, set net sites, and fishermen working their gear as I travel on the ocean towards our fishing grounds in Bristol Bay.

My first-hand knowledge of the dangers and excitement of fishing draws me to the historical fishery of Bristol Bay. Here, ghosts of past storms emerge through the fog. From a 32-foot wooden sailboat without navigational equipment, to the jagged cliffs of Castle Cape that have been beaten by heavy winds and torrential seas, to the beauty of time-worn buildings. All of this tells a story of the past – the layers of chipping paint, worn wood, or rusty metal.

I live in the coastal fishing community of Kodiak where the natural elements of wind, water, and salt are constantly changing the environment. One can walk down the beach, gaze at an old fishing boat or deteriorating pier, and year after year, you see the subtle changes with a fresh perspective. I am incredibly drawn to the beauty of time-worn surfaces. By painting, scraping, and scratching I reveal pieces that speak of the past and present. For me, inspiration is often a mystery. One thing inspires while another fades away, the ideas warp and change just as my environment does. Parts are absorbed, parts are lost, and that is how these scenes have come to be.

Sail to Prop, Encaustic on panel