Butler displays egg tempera works

An exhibition by Doug Safranek opens Saturday at the Butler Institute of American Art.

Safranek works with egg tempera — colored pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder, like egg yolk. Many paintings before 1500 were created using egg tempera before the introduction of oils. Safranek was introduced to the technique by art historian James Watrous when Safranek was pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin.

In an artist statement on his website, Safranek writes, “Egg Tempera is paradoxical medium. It embodies the qualities of both fragility and permanence. The slow meditative process of layering the delicate brushstrokes which make up the surface of a tempera painting has the effect of imparting an intimate stillness to even the most active composition.

“I and other contemporary painters have found this medium of Byzantine icons to be equally well suited to secular urban scenes. These make up a large part of my work. In my New York paintings, I’ve attempted to note not only the clutter and eccentricities of daily life but also that which is timeless and universal in a fast-paced environment.”

His works are included in numerous private and public collections, including the Arkansas Art Center, the Norton Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Safranek is an internationally renowned artist who paints thought-provoking portraits of New Yorkers and emotive scenes of the vibrant city.

“Doug Safranek: Works in Egg Tempera” will be on display through June 11 at the Butler, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 330-743-1107.

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