Marissa Voytenko was born and raised in a small agricultural community in Northern California. As a youth, she was selected for the rigorous art training program, California State Summer School for the Arts. Marissa furthered her studies in art at a small college in the hills of Montecito, California and then, Boston University, where she earned a Master of Fine Art in Studio Teaching. Soon after graduation, she was introduced to the medium of encaustic, and has been painting with this molten wax medium for over 15 years. Marissa is represented by a number of galleries throughout the United States and has also exhibited her work internationally. Recently, her artwork has been on the cover of the American Psychologist and Comment magazine. She has also been a featured artist in Christianity Today. Her work is in private collections throughout the United States as well as abroad. Marissa resides with her family in the Chicago area and has taught as an adjunct professor at Wheaton College.
I am an abstract encaustic painter whose interest lies in making visible that which is invisible. Instead of creating work from physical observations of the natural world, I focus on the unseen landscapes of the psychological and spiritual. The intersection of life experiences and how these affect our mental outlook and shape our spiritual identity are intriguing to me. I draw inspiration from a variety of sources: from architecture and travels abroad to home-schooling my two children. If I am working with my daughter on her cursive writing, then those lines influence my own work. Or if my children are studying ancient architecture, then Roman arches find their way into my compositions. I use these life experiences to create symbolic imagery that communicate larger truths.
Grids and symbols are my language for communicating my thoughts and feelings and an instrument for ordering them. Within this structure I find my way around the surface of the painting, making creative decisions. Repetition of line as well as shape is a key aspect of my work. This too is another avenue for organizing the internal experience. In the application of the paint as well as in the imagery there is a recapitulation that offers space for contemplation. Inherently, the overall appearance is characterized by a steady beat of marks that through their arrangement seek to communicate abstract concepts that are not easily explained in words or narrative imagery.
The medium of encaustic found me almost 20 years ago and is my preferred medium of communication as it’s physicality and diaphanous qualities emulate my conceptual ideas. I enjoy how the wax affords me the ability to use precision while, at the same time, lends itself well to roughly textured surfaces that take on a wabi-sabi affect. It is the paradox of the broken up hard-edges where I find beauty, as well as in the physical act of digging and scraping the wax as it reflects the mining of my thoughts and soul and so exposes those things which were once hidden.