Knack for an Ancient Art Artistic Late Bloomer Pursues Primitive Medium with a Passion

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Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald Correspondent

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CORRECTION/date 09-27-2005: A story in some of Monday's Neighbors had the incorrect date for a gallery show featuring the work of Mount Prospect native Kevin Gramm. His show, featuring art using the ancient medium of encaustics, opens with a reception for the artist at 7 p.m. Friday at Gallery

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Kevin Gramm never takes the easy route.

Heck, it took him until he was 48 years old before he realized he wanted to go to college, and now at 53 he has chosen to specialize in an ancient art, "encaustic," that dates back as far as the 1st Century when Phoenician sailors used it to seal their ships.

"I am intrigued with the primitive art form that it has lasted thousands of years," said Gramm, who lives in Wheeling and works in Hawthorn Woods.

His first show featuring 15 encaustic pieces opened Friday at Gallery 500, 500 N. Wells St., Chicago.

A reception with Gramm opened the show that runs through the end of October.

The gallery is located next to the Sushi Samba restaurant and consequently regularly features blown glass exhibits.

Gallery officials say they seek new artwork that will merge well with the glass vessels, and Gramm's fit that bill.

"We're really excited to have some of Kevin's work," says Kyle Bennett, gallery owner. "His style of art is very different from a normal abstract painting."

Encaustic is a process of painting with molten wax, usually with beeswax or resin that is fused together with pigments and applied to a wood panel or slate material. Its layers are directed with a heat gun to produce an effect that cannot be produced with paint.

Gramm, a Mount Prospect native, discovered the rare medium while earning a studio arts degree at Barat College of DePaul University. …