Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Featured Work: Missing the Mark
Describe your featured work.
Not long ago I read a FB post that made a bold statement about a certain group of people with a particular political bent. What ensued was a lot of finger pointing and ugly remarks. This got me thinking that while there were some valid points on both sides, the arguing itself was not solving anything and was counterproductive; it was taking the focus from loving, serving, and advocating for the hurting, the disenfranchised, and the refugee. The bickering in that post bothered me so much that I decided to create my own response.
As an encaustic painter, I have come to appreciate and enjoy the way that hot wax pushes me beyond precision. I am a orderly person and I think in grids. My work is centered around structures – squares, grids, rows, or columns. When I begin creating, I’m quite organized as I map out my composition in a grid formation. As the work progresses, my decisions become more intuitive and less thought out and, therefore, more expressive and painterly. I use an adding and subtracting method of painting whereby I paint several layers and then scrape them away to reveal what’s lying beneath the surface. The imagery in my work is abstract and usually carries a narrative or metaphor. I pull inspiration from myriad places and experiences but often the drive to create is fueled by a present circumstance I am mulling over in my inner psyche.
What are you making now?
A little over a year ago I began a series of encaustic paintings based on the present worldwide refugee crisis. The inspiration for this series had come, in part, from my volunteer work at a local non-profit agency and storefront that offers employment to refugee women. In this series, I chose the symbol of a primitive vessel to represent the plight of the refugee. The vessel symbolizes the movement of people and the perilous journey that migrants often must endure. This series has evolved somewhat in the past year, and most recently I have been adding new symbols to this narrative–the target sign being one of them. This topic continues to be important to me, and I expect I will try to find new ways of raising awareness in hopes of guarding my heart–and others’–from indifference.
Why do you belong to CIVA?
I was introduced to CIVA while I was in graduate school at Boston University. At the time, CIVA’s office was located at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. My dear artist-friend Michelle Arnold Paine happened to work at Gordon College and impressed upon me the importance joining CIVA. It was in becoming a member of CIVA that I became aware of the breadth and diversity of work created by contemporary Christian artists. In 2008, I attended a week-long encaustic workshop hosted by CIVA at Gordon College. I have continued to be enriched by the artwork in SEEN Journal, challenged at the CIVA conferences, and have a deep gratitude for this network of artists who know their Creator and seek to create for His glory.
Marissa Voytenko is an abstract encaustic painter whose work explores relatable psychological themes through a framework of grids and squares. She is represented by several galleries throughout the United States and has exhibited her work in Ukraine. Born and raised in northern California, Marissa has travelled widely and lived for various stretches of time in Italy, Belgium, Austria, and Ukraine. She received her B.A. in Art from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and Master of Fine Art from Boston University. Marissa currently lives and works in Chicagoland with her husband and two young children.