Santa Fe, NM, July 27-August 10
This story was featured in the August 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine August 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine August 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
Ordinary objects reach extraordinary heights in Wendy Chidester’s solo show, opening with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on July 27 at Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Old typewriters, luggage, lunch boxes, thermoses, oilcans, and movie projectors—these are the subjects of the painter’s careful compositions. This is the third year in a row for a solo showing of Chidester’s realistic depictions of bygone, obsolete objects.
“What people find intriguing about her art,” explains gallery owner Deborah Fritz, “is the life Wendy brings to these objects. Her work lends each object some glory.” Fritz also emphasizes the emotional effect of Chidester’s ability to focus solely on the objects appearing in each canvas: “There’s a nostalgia we feel when we look at her work.”
“Each object has a story to tell,” observes Chidester, who premieres about 20 new pieces in this show. “I find these items intriguing because they’ve been replaced and forgotten.” From a distance, her paintings appear photo-realistic because of their attention to detail. “Up close,” she points out, “they actually look almost abstract.” After creating an image, the artist adds scratch marks and glazes and then repaints the canvas again “to get the age to come through in each piece,” she says.
Chidester, who paints from life rather than from photographs, points out that many of the objects she depicts come from the early to mid-1900s. “These are items that were made to last forever,” she says of her attraction to them. “I want people to think of the stories attached to them. Where has that luggage gone—what stories were written on that typewriter?”
In YELLOW FENDER, SIDE VIEW, the artist depicts an antique tricycle in stark profile. “It’s playful—but it also exudes nostalgia,” she confirms. “There’s a strong memory of childhood involved in this piece.” The vivid yellow, green, and red tricycle floats in one of the artist’s signature indeterminate backgrounds. “I painted it as an icon, right there in focus,” Chidester says.
STETSON, another new piece in the show, depicts a collection of 12 cases— including suitcases with travel stickers, a hatbox, a portable typewriter case, and an old record-player case. Stacked together creating geometric patterns, the containers appear aged and worn. “I leave the objects in their cases,” Chidester adds, “to add a little mystery.”
Chidester hopes that her paintings conjure personal memories among viewers. “I hope they remind people of their past,” she says, “and how fast time goes by—and how the quality of these older items has been forgotten.” —Mark Mussari
Featured in the August 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine August 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine August 2012 print edition
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