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Quickening Image

Wellington B. Gray Art Gallery

Current Exhibition

The Quickening Image: The Wax Resist Drawings by David Dodge Lewis and Ephraim Rubenstein

Thursday, January 21 at 5:00 p.m. The reception will follow in the Gray Gallery.

"The Quickening Image: The Wax-Resist Drawings of David Dodge Lewis and Ephraim Rubenstein / A Twenty Year Collaboration," will be on exhibit in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery from January 21 through February 19, with an artists' talk in Speight Auditorium in the Jenkins Fine Arts Building on Thursday, January 21 at 5:00 p.m. The reception will follow in the Gray Gallery. 

Resist techniques in art use the incompatibility of two or more mediums to create layered effects with color or texture. 

Quickening Image Gargoyles"The Quickening Image" exhibition features wax-resist drawing, a drawing technique developed and refined by Lewis and Rubenstein. Wax-resist drawing is a complexly-layered, large-scale technique that uses a wide variety of art media, and uses wax to repel subsequent ink and charcoal washes. 

Lewis will conduct a workshop in the technique for ECU students during the exhibition. 

Adapting the techniques of 20th century English sculptor Henry Moore who used wax as a resist for ink washes in his sketchbooks on a small scale, Lewis began using wax in large-scale works for exhibition in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, Lewis was offering workshops on his wax-resist process, including at the University of Richmond, where Rubenstein first observed it. 

With help from Lewis, Rubenstein spent the next 20 years adapting the process for his own art. "The Quickening Image" exhibition features each artist's individual works as a result of their collaboration. 

Lewis credits his experiences as a graduate student at ECU for piquing his interest in developing the new process. 

"Faculty members like Paul Hartley had created an environment of high expectations combined with innovation and independence," he said. "There was also a remarkable camaraderie among the graduate students, in part because critiques were design-based and did not pit one style against another. That let us share ideas and processes freely, and when I saw another grad student using wax in a drawing of hers, I tried it in my drawings." 

Lewis also credits ECU art and design faculty for inspiring his college teaching career. After graduate school, Lewis started the visual arts program at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, where he is the Barger-Barclay Professor of Fine Arts. 

His work has been in over 100 national juried exhibitions and solo shows —winning many awards —and appears in many public and private collections. 

Rubenstein is a faculty member of the Art Students League of New York and Columbia University. His work is widely exhibited and represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Exxon Corporation and Deloitte &Touche. 

The exhibition tour and details of the wax-resist process were featured in the summer 2015 issue of Drawing Magazine. 

Article by Harley Dartt


The Wellington B. Gray Gallery is located off of 5th and Jarvis Streets on the campus of East Carolina University in the Jenkins Fine Arts Center. Summer gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the exhibition. The gallery is closed for all University holidays. Jenkins Fine Arts Center is handicapped accessible. Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department of Disability Support Services, at least two weeks prior to the event (252) 737-1016. Parking for the reception is available in the lot surrounding Jenkins Fine Arts Center.

For more information, please contact Tom Braswell, Interim Gallery Director, at (252) 328-6336.