Orange, blue, every shade of brown, bright yellow, light purple. Although you can make out cavernous tourist destinations in the paintings, color is the real subject of Retreat, an exhibition of large-scale paintings by Theresa Marchetta. Marchetta uses cave imagery, which is at once representational and abstract, as a jumping off point to investigate color. The intricate rock formations provide shapes into which Marchetta pours pigmented varnish, expanding the possibility of painting.
The result: an iridescent explosion of color.
After preparing a panel, I start by making a contour drawing. This is when I work out the entire composition of the painting. I then put down a wax mixture, closely following the drawing; with a method similar to the way pastry chefs use bags of icing. This creates a low relief that I let dry for at least a week. I use several different mixtures of clear varnishes and polymer mediums that I tint with inks before pouring them into the negative spaces created by the wax lines. When I mix colors on a painting it is always wet into wet, while the layering of colors can happen only after the bottom layer is completely dry.