Betsy Eby’s recent encaustic paintings bridge the visible and the invisible worlds through the exploration of a highly personal visual language that links image and emotion. Her evocative images of nature are contemporary examples of a tradition of painting descended from Romanticism, a tradition that insists that a work of art is both an outward expression and an inner exploration, affirming that a successful work of art must communicate with the viewer on both formal and intuitive levels simultaneously.
Eby’s poetic work sustains a flux that balances emotion, image and intuitive knowledge in a visual field that is a still-point in a stream of sensation, one in which the painting is a materialization of a complex, inner world of emotion, ideas and sensations. Her approach to the painted image is exploratory, communicative, and lyrical, definite in purpose, yet relying on indirect, intuitive communication rather than direct narrative devices.
Although there is over a century of thought and development between her work and the ideas of her romantic predecessors, her passionate insistence that emotion can be the beginning and the end of a work of art places her work firmly within the romantic, but also in opposition to the market-driven, media conscious, art of our time. Hers is an art of spirit in a decidedly unspiritual era.
This monograph of paintings by Betsy Eby accompanies her traveling museum exhibition Painting with Fire.
– David Houston