Marlis Albrecht experimented with many artistic forms of expression and materials until she made her personal discovery of beeswax in 1994, thereafter turning to figurative painting. As of this time she has been working constantly and almost exclusively with this natural product. In concentrating on wax as a flexible medium, the artist has developed a highly sophisticated and unique mixing technique for warm and cold wax that has neither a direct role model nor any parallels with contemporary artists. When it comes to painting using wax, nationally speaking only the artist Martin Assig (Berlin) springs to mind, and internationally only Jasper Johns deserves a mention; yet both these artists also use, or predominantly use, different techniques. Empowered by her long-practised technical know-how, Marlis Albrecht applies her wax painting technique to both delineate precise details as well as to render blurred, vague, and imaginary shapes and images. She layers the melted beeswax, coloured with various pigments, by pouring, brushing, and lovingly applying it with a palette knife onto the painting's wooden or canvas surface.
The term encaustic is too limited a word to describe this process: Marlis Albrecht has made a solemn pact with the medium wax to generate own worlds. Her complex creations, their waxen surfaces partially moulded in relief, are brought to life by the artist caringly scratching, scraping, and carving her chosen material, adding cold wax tempera and then reapplying hot wax, creating overlaps and then removing individual layers again. The formability of the medium permits smooth and rough surfaces as well as impastos, venturing from the two-dimensional view of a panel painting into the third dimension. This technique also enables a particular kind of colourfulness, since the pigment density in the molten wax determines the colour intensity. Faces and skin are typically composed of shimmering layers of wax with depth and three dimensions. The transition between expansively worked areas and the detailed ornamentation of the figures' clothing is occasionally supported by collaging with fabrics, papers, or other materials. And yet the key material is always wax, which for Marlis Albrecht epitomises the multifacetedness of life and is especially well-suited as a medium for depicting the diverse dimensions of the human soul. For her wax is much more than a mere material – it communicates content.
Dr. Gisela Hack-Molitor