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Candles on canvas

Posted by Carolyn / March 26, 2010

17 years ago, Martin Felando grew tired of looking at the empty walls of his apartment in New York City's NoLita neighborhood, so he bought a small canvas and began painting. Dissatisfied with what he had created, Felando melted a nearby candle and rubbed his wax-covered hands all over the canvas. Ever since that fortuitous burst of creativity, Felando has been creating dozens of unique and eye-catching melted wax paintings. Ten of his latest works are now being exhibited at contemporary art space Gallery Gora on Sherbrooke and Parc.

threepaintings.jpg First image: Martin Felando, Sunrise, 2009. Scented candle and oil paint on canvas.

Felando's paintings are created out of hard wax, the type most commonly found in scented candles. He melts the wax in a pan at 150 degrees Fahrenheit and then spreads it across the canvas, playing with structure and color while molding the wax into unique new formations. "When I'm pouring the wax onto the canvas I'm using my hands, not a paintbrush, so it's a kinesthetic activity," says Felando. "My hands pour the wax and I'm moving the canvas and exploring new ways to create new colors."


Felando controls the flow of the painted, melted wax over the canvas, playing with the angle of the canvas, color, and shape of the wax. The soft, malleable hot wax melts with other pieces of wax to create new colors in a way that is unique to the medium. It gradually solidifies and cools on the canvas, creating bold, textured formations that are almost sculptural in nature.

"When the flow of wax rolls down not a flat canvas but a bumpy mix of wax forms, shapes are created by the flow of the hot wax," he says. "So new forms and shapes are created as well as new colors. Interesting fun, you know?"

felando-purple is for justice.jpg Purple is for justice, 2009.

Though his work is sometimes confused with encaustic painting--which involves wax-based paint and resin that are heated and applied to a canvas with a brush--he's actually working with a quite different medium.

"I'm combining large blocks of wax and regular oil paint and when it's melted, I'm pouring it onto a canvas," says Felando. "As far as I know, no one is doing what I'm doing."

Felando- Sunrise 2.jpg Sunrise 2, 2009.

The flow of the wax takes a unique form in each of the ten paintings on display at Gallery Gora, creating intricate patterns and formations which are intriguing to examine close-up.Striking in their display of texture and color, Felando's wax paintings are an exciting new twist on abstract art which are distinctly unlike anything else out there in contemporary art. Felando masterfully manipulates this new and difficult medium to create truly stunning works. Come check out the exhibition at Gallery Gora until April 10.

Felando- The Pacific.jpg The Pacific, 2009.

Photos by Carolyn Gregoire and Martin Felando.



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