Fire Hammered Air

Looking at the translucent colors of John King's encaustic paintings, I am reminded of an image from Eliot's The Waste Land; fire hammered air. I can't quite remember what Eliot was referring to, probably a London passageway along the Thames suffused with the scent of frying steak and the reek of fish, but in King's paintings, the texture looks literally hammered, as if he spread the paint as thin as possible to reveal a light source behind the canvas. The atmospheres of his compositions shimmer, as if you were walking in a thick, pearly dream where the background zooms into the foreground and back again. You walk into walls. Subject and background swim together. The actual fuses with the potential and you think you can see the future, but what is it?

Renee Samuels
The Woodstock Times, January 2, 1997
Woodstock, NY