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Antoinette Walker, July 2014

I work in an encaustic medium, which is one of the earliest painting techniques combining molten bees wax, damar crystals and pigment. I express my creativity through coastal marine themes that capture the wild beauty around my home in Kodiak and my fishing grounds in Bristol Bay. As I cross the ocean to my fishing grounds, I anticipate images of time-worn canneries, set net sites and fishermen working their gear. The dangers and excitement of fishing draws me for first hand impressions and experiences of these images and patinas of this historical fishery. Here, ghosts of past storms emerge thru the fog. In wooden sail boats without navigational equipment fishermen pulled their nets by hand, dodging dangerous sandbars and frequent, violent storms. Stories of Asian cannery workers are written into the rusting walls of these relics. My imagination sifts through time and nets feelings and impressions until the fish have run the rivers.  I return to my studio, where the imagery spill out in layers upon layers. Colleges of paper, nets, photos, charts and Asian texts coalesce like the energy of the seas. The images settle into place as I scrape back pieces and parts of layers to reveal my vision of boats, buildings and fishermen of bygone years. Although the trappings of fishing change over time, the search is archetypal. Like encaustics, fishing is an enduring tradition full of ritual and process, currents that pull you away from the modern world, its pace and changes, and into the reflective waters of our human history.

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Listen to a clip from Antointette Walker’s Artist Talk below.

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