Tangible Identities, a collection of black-and-white encaustic portraits by UNC-Asheville professor Tamie Beldue, is now on display at the Artery. Twenty-three 13-by-13-inch panels line the gallery’s north wall, providing a glimpse of 23 different individuals. On the opposite wall, five panels ranging from a single small-format piece to two pieces just over 3-feet tall present fully rendered portraits. Each of these works is sealed with encaustic wax that softens the image, purposely blurs the peripheries and draws focus to one area. Beneath the wax, Beldue applies layers of graphite and watercolor that build up and focus on momentary subtleties. These moments, both candid and uncomfortable, present themselves during modeling sessions with the figures she’s depicted. Muscles begin to twitch, the face flushes and the skin stresses. While some exude pure confidence and good humor, others have a noticeable despair. Tangible Identities is up through Oct. 30 at the Artery, 346 Depot St. www.ashevillearts.com
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