Personal Reflections on the Wax Room: Part 1

In celebration of the Laib Wax Room‘s first anniversary as a permanent installation at The Phillips Collection, Membership Associate and Marketing & Communications Intern Rhiannon Newman, who was one of four assistants in the preparation and installation, describes her experience in a four part series.

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Photos: Rhiannon Newman

The scent of the wax permeates this room. It penetrates every pore—you could sweat the smell of beeswax. It absorbs into the follicles of your hair. It embeds deep into your clothes and when you bathe, it hangs like a thick fog in your shower. The smell of wax invades your every waking hour until… you stop smelling it altogether.

I stare irritably at the stranger in the grocery store who has stepped into my personal space. He inhaled deeply, and my tense posture sent him out of the cereal aisle and towards the fresh produce. A moment later I belatedly realize that his sniff was more inquisitive than perverted. I glance down at the beeswax spattered leggings I’m wearing and sheepishly move towards the check out.

Rhiannon Newman, Membership Associate and Marketing & Communications Intern

Jean Meisel’s Imaginary Seascapes

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Installation of Jean Meisel: 50-65 Horizon Line, an Intersections contemporary art project. Photo: Amy Wike

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Jean Meisel, Untitled watercolor, 1970s-2013. Photo: Rhiannon Newman

Installation of Washington-based artist Jean Meisel’s 50–65 Horizon Line is nearly complete in an intimate gallery on the second floor of the house. Meisel began creating these tiny paintings, none measuring more than six inches, during the 1970s and hasn’t stopped since. While the works might evoke memories of landscapes and seascapes encountered by viewers, these endearing scenes are in fact all created from the artist’s imagination.

Meisel will discuss her work in an Artist’s Perspective at 6:30 pm on Thursday, January 30.