The Square Dance Series
John O’Hara’s Square Dance series, inspired by Josef Alber’s extensive Homage to the Square series, focuses on the simplifications of shape and the relationship of color. Where Albers used oil paint and silk-screen as his mediums, O’Hara’s encaustic wax significantly influences the final piece and the process, which is quite unique.
O’Hara creates his Square Dance series by first laying on a ¼ inch of wax onto his specially made boards. O’Hara heats the wax with a heat gun to cure the paint to the board and smooth the surface into a glassy finish. To achieve the crisp, sharp lines of each square, four boards are each painted their carefully chosen color. Differing from Albers, O’Hara chose to position his squares not one on top of another but in a grid. This allows the viewer’s eye to dance around the work. O’Hara then positions the colors and bolts each board together to create the larger square. The series is simple, powerful, and direct, above all else, quite enjoyable to look at hanging on a wall.