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Culture » Art Watch

Past Perfect

Retro Goes Contemporary in New Exhibit



For artist Wendy Chidester, the past gets more modern all the time.

Much like this week's cover entitled "Focal Point," her other still life paintings depict things such as typewriters, sewing machines and watches that, depending on your age, might have belonged to either your parents or grandparents. In any case, they symbolize an era that time and today's technology have taken away.

The owner of Mockingbird Gallery (where the artist's work is displayed this month), Jim Peterson, cites "the interesting contrast between Chidester's ability to present retro items in such a contemporary way – like simply composing them with clean lines against a flat neutral color. It's bringing the old and the new together."

Chidester, who works out of a pair of Utah studios, has a passion for still life that portrays a historical view of obsolete machines. In fact, you might find her prowling antique shops or even junkyards seeking ideas for upcoming projects. "I love looking for old, worn objects to inspire me to paint," she says. "Things that have been replaced or forgotten make great subject matter."

Her exhibit this month takes place alongside Sandra Pratt, another painter with traditional, representational subjects and, like Chidester, a cutting-edge energy. You'll notice how her palette knife texture can draw you intimately close to her imagery. Landscapes and village scenes dominate Pratt's work, reflecting time spent in vast spaces including Colorado and New Mexico, as well as visits to Canada and Europe.

While their approaches, in Peterson's words, "couldn't be any more different," the two, along with their distinct voices, present a coherent show and appeal to modern art collectors.

Wendy Chidester & Sandra Pratt

Mockingbird Gallery

869 NW Wall St., Suite 100, Bend

March 3 – April 6


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