The Medal No.48, Spring, 2006, pp.90(illstr.) and 91 Felicity Powell is quoted 'I had considered this a possible technique for making low relief models towards a series of cast bronze medals. During the process of working with the medium the possibility of making animated film arose. In some ways the imagery developed initially out of a simple idea to reflect two possible states of mind metaphorically; the profiles are playful responses to the historical tradition of medallic portraiture. But the imagery also developed out of the ways in which I was working out how I could get the wax to represent different elemens such as cloud, water, gras, leaves or flesh and the transformation of one element or form into another'.
Victoria and Albert Museum Registered File 2005/449
Relief, wax on glass, 'Head in Clouds up to the Neck', by Felicity Powell, Britain, 2005
Diameter: 9.6 cm inner incised circle surrounding the image, Diameter: 10.2 cm outer incised circle surrounding the image, Height: 15 cm mirror tile, Width: 15 cm mirror tile
Anima (DK Projects 01/03/2006-31/12/2008)
Statement about Head in Clouds up to the Neck (A.29-2005)and Thinking Tree (A.28-2005) by Felicity Powell, 13/07/05. Source: Registered File 2005/449
'These waxes were made shortly after Alex Corney gave a lecture for the British Art Medal Society on the collection of waxes in the V&A. It reminded me of the flexibility, versatility of wax and opened up possibilities for the use of wax as a medium. I had been aware of models for medals made with wax on slate and had considered this a possible technique for making low relief models towards a series of cast medals. But it was an inspiring talk that prompted me to get on with it.
I have used wax a great deal in the past in a number of different ways, but mostly to make three dimensional figures as maquettes to draw from and to work ideas out in and also as a medium for modelling medals entirely in wax. However, I had to hand an amount of glass mirror tiles that I have used to etch into from the back. These form an ideal surface with a smooth dark grey backing on which to work with the wax in quite a delicate yet fluid way with a perfect flat plane as a constant in the equation.
Both these pieces were part of a series of ideas that I worked out directly on the surface of the glass in wax, a bit like drawing itself. This medium allows many changes to be made easily and although I often make preliminary sketches for ideas, on this occasion I let the medium lead me. I worked first with the basic idea of two profiles by marking the exact centre of the glass squares, and drew a circle to work within. I lay down the basic shapes of the heads with wax applied with fingers and thinly rolled lengths of wax. The fine detail and the refining changes were made using metal dental tools. I like the semi-translucent quality of the wax, which allows a sense of depth in the relief to be gauged, but also has very beautiful qualities against the dark background. I see these works as being independent works in themselves and also as potential working models from which casts can be taken to make into two-sided bronze medals.
In some ways the imagery developed initially out of the simple idea to reflect two possible states of mind metaphorically, the profiles are playful responses to historical tradition of medallic portraiture. But the imagery also developed out of the ways in which I was working out how I could get the wax to represent different elements such as cloud, water, grass, leaves or flesh.'
Purchased at the same time as A.28-2005, for £250 from the artist.
According to Powell the design of the reliefs came from the dual ideas of demonstrating different states of mind metaphorically and representing various elements. The use of wax allowed Powell to follow her instinct as she could work out ideas directly onto the glass. Images of Powell's work have been subsequently incorporated into an animation, 'Anima', shown at DK Projects, New York.
This delicate and beautiful sculpted relief was created by the artist when exploring the possibilities of using wax as a medium for sculpture. Though related to medallic portrait traditions, her inspiration was a talk on the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection of waxes, given by Curator, Alex Corney to the British Art Medal Society on 11 January 2005