During the Italian Renaissance, the fresco was a popular technique in which to create, essentially, a mural. The process included the application of a layer of wet plaster that is then mixed with pigment to create the design. This dries and both the plaster and pigment merge to become the wall itself. As it is a battle against time, Italian Renaissance frescoes were done in sections because the area had to be finished before it dried completely. Artist, Elise Ferguson accomplishes a very similar process with her pigmented plaster on panel projects.
Considered a "portable fresco", Ferguson explores 21st century geometric patterns and color palettes. In a similar fashion, Ferguson layers plaster onto her panels, however through utilizing newer technologies such as Photoshop and silkscreening, Ferguson creates precisely calculated patterns that are then added to her layered panels with tinted pigment. Usually consisting of between ten to fifteen layers, the compositional layers are smoothed completely, but at times left uneven and irregular on the sides, giving the piece even more surface texture. Utilizing a palette of rich colors, amid blacks, whites, and creams, Ferguson builds large forms and exciting line configurations that give the essence of the Southern California mid-century modern flair.
Although a revitalization of a classic process, Ferguson's use of technology and color distinguish the works as uniquely their own. The romance of the fresco, its cementation and permanence, are the foundation of the paneled projects referencing a period of enlightenment, progress, and renewal.