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Ron Meick


Ron Meick

Visual Arts: Sculpture

By: Gail Obenreder

“Although there is always beginning point to a piece . . . there are always surprises in execution, material, or changes along the path.”

Ron Meick has a very specific body of knowledge that he accesses in creating his latest series of artworks, wooden sculptures painted with encaustic (wax) pigments that reference both Russian constructivist art of the 1920s and the natural world. “I was a beekeeper for over ten years, which is how I got interested in encaustic sculpture/painting,” finding that the accumulation of wax provided him with “an enticing material.”

Born in Nebraska, Meick and his brother had a peripatetic childhood due to his father’s government job. Their family lived in Illinois and Virginia and spent six years in Germany while he was a teenager. That time in Europe instilled in him a fascination with “spaces, museums, and monuments,” drawing him to the “physical and spatial presence” of sculpture. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, Meick lived in Maine and New Hampshire where he and his wife brought up two sons. They moved to Arden, Delaware 17 years ago and enjoy the thriving artistic community.

The Established Artist cites a wide range of influences on his early work, from European sculptors like Rodin and Brancusi to contemporary artists Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, and Christo. But currently, he is inspired by “every artist who has the courage to make art and values the importance of visual expression,” something that can “transform and change culture and enrich our life experience.”

"Hammer," 2022, wood, encaustic wax, 32 x 28 x 20 inches
“Hammer,” 2022, wood, encaustic wax, 32 x 28 x 20 inches

"Little Bird," 2022, wood, encaustic wax, 16 x 9 x 7 inches
“Little Bird,” 2022, wood, encaustic wax, 16 x 9 x 7 inches

"Twisted Mast," 2022, wood, rope, encaustic wax, 54.5 x 32 x 32 inches
“Twisted Mast,” 2022, wood, rope, encaustic wax, 54.5 x 32 x 32 inches

Meick creates wooden constructions that range in size from miniscule (8 inches) to monumental, some as tall as 6 feet. After they’re built, he paints them with a veneer of hot encaustic paint composed of beeswax, damar resin and infused with pigments. It is a tedious process that renders “color decision-making decisive, since the molten wax quickly solidifies.” It also softens the hard edges of the wood and creates a “counterpoint of color and space [that] increases the layers of meaning and emotional content.”

His recent work is strongly guided by contemporary current events or relevant political issues.  The war in Ukraine, a country “being dismantled by destruction,” is the visual basis for this latest sculptural series.  Meick finds his biggest challenge to be “making objects that are relevant in concept, visual, and emotional terms.” As well, he finds challenges in “the physical effort of making objects,” as well as “the business aspect of being an artist.”

Meick enjoys his vegetable garden and music of all kinds, and – in addition to creating sculpture – his artistic practice includes woodworking and printmaking. Seeing an idea come to fruition is one of his great rewards. He believes that viewer “response is an important element to any artwork,” and it’s especially gratifying when “others see things in a work that I never considered.”

Though being isolated during the pandemic provided Meick with “an element of concentration, introspection, and perspective,” now that strictures have been lifted, he finds himself “much more appreciative of seeing things physically.” He plans to use his Fellowship award funds to support his constantly evolving artistic practice, securing “materials and equipment to pursue new ideas.” Meick also commends the Division of the Arts for its support of the state’s artistic community and finds himself “fortunate to live in a state which is so supportive and nurturing.”

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