Shoshannah White’s Butter
2010, photograph with encaustic, 6″ x 6″
Fine art photographer Shoshanna White unravels the beauty of our everyday in her ethereal and intimate collection, “Basic Ingredients.” Using food, White is able to explore layers of history and cultural significance—the pomegranate, salt crystals, sugar cubes, while speaking to the immediacy of life through the natural potential of preservation and decay.
What was the process of creating Butter? What other mediums are used?
I painted over the photographs in the series with an encaustic medium. Encaustic is an ancient Etruscan painting technique that uses beeswax melted with tree resins. While still in its hot, molten form, the mixture is then applied to an absorbent surface.
Butter was well received at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art Auction last year. What do you think was the draw to this particular image?
I’m not sure what the draw was, but the emulsion of beeswax on the surface makes it a more tactile experience. The abstracted view also makes the image both geometric and organic, so it is able to speak to people on a number of levels.
What is it about this series that strikes you most?
The most common response to this body of work has been that people want to actually lick the surface—since the beeswax is both solid and translucent, it actually sort of resembles a thin frosting. Combining a food photograph with the encaustic medium seems to somehow connect the senses and inspire a layered experience.
How has your work evolved from this series?
I’m currently working on a couple bodies of work. The food series—where objects are sort of floating in darkness—led me to projects with small bits of light within darkness. I’m photographing landscapes at dusk or night now, and am developing a portrait series where faces emerge out of the dark.