“Working in wax is therapeutic. Mixing, applying, texturizing, adding, taking away, and fusing, are all steps that create an elaborate dance, most often with spontaneous results. Because with encaustic I have to let go of some control, I am able to free myself of constraints in my original idea. Wax forces me to lose rigidity while connecting emotionally to the piece.”
In college I took a poetry writing seminar. We were all into stream-of-consciousness free verse. The professor forced us to learn all the formal aspects of poetry – meter, rhyme, rhythm, all of it. We had to write sonnets. Shakespearian sonnets! Near the end of the semester he finally let us write free verse; and guess what! Our writing was so much better. Maite Agahnia’s work makes me think of that class. There is great technical virtuosity underlying the spontaneity. In the composition, shape, color, texture, the layering of the wax and the scraping and gouging it away, we sense experience and a hard-won wisdom. She has learned her sonnets and earned the right to free verse. The results are delightful.