Dawn Zimiles




The subjects of my work focus on the elements of the natural world. This has included a whole array of natural phenomenon such as sand formations, forests, birds and the ocean which has been one of my most enduring themes.


I've always been drawn to the physical act of sculpting — shaping a malleable material by hand. In addition, I have had an enduring love of painting, especially with oil. The brilliance of the color it's suppleness and qualities of transparency and luster. Through working with encaustic medium (a mixture of wax, resin and pigment), I have been able to unite these mediums of choice, and the dynamic properties of melting wax has lent itself perfectly to my ocean series 


The ocean manifests in many ways and is never a fixed form. Sometimes riving with undulating energy of incredible power, other times calm and tranquil. The color palette shifts dramatically as time of day and atmospheric conditions change. The ocean's primary companion is the sky, and in my work I am very aware of how they relate and play off each other.


Unlike oil painting, the qualities of encaustic medium require that I must relinquish much control. With the application of heat the material comes alive and flows with it's own rhythms and tendencies. Often the pigments disperse in marbleized patterns. The wax moves on it's own will and even though I may grab a cooling area and begin to sculpt it, it's nature stays in tact resisting a representational illusion. All I can do is try to coax it to flow as the waves do and guide it towards where I see the dialog of shapes, form and color begin to express qualities of this magnificent subject and it's many moods.



Dawn Zimiles grew up in NY, and received a BFA in sculpture from Parsons School of Design in 1991. After graduating from college, she moved to San Francisco where, in addition to maintaining a studio practice focused mainly on oil painting, she pursued further studies in 3D computer graphics, and the digital arts. In 2001, she moved back east and settled in Provincetown in her family's home previously occupied by her great Aunt and Uncle, both artists, who first came to Provincetown in the early 1950's. Currently Dawn works primarily in encaustics (a mixture of wax and resin), and oil paint, but on occasion experiments with the inclusion of digitally generated images and photography. The subjects of her work focus on the natural world.