March 2018: Rodney C. Stuart and Kelly Neidig

Kelly Neidig is an abstract painter who works from the memories of places she has lived and traveled. Her new work is inspired by a recent trip to Japan and uses abstract imagery based on everyday encounters in the natural world. Reflecting on the mindfulness that Japanese embrace in their every day life, Neidig approaches these new pieces slowly and by “stopping and listening to my work.” “In Japan I was very influenced by the art of Yayoi Kusama. I loved investigating her technique of layering lines, marks, and dots to create negative and positive space in her paintings. I was also drawn to traditional Japanese calligraphy and and was surprised to notice how each artist has a specific style of mark making that is uniquely their own.” Neidig is fascinated with the the combination art and nature, and of ancient traditions and modern technology in Japan. To create her paintings she first draws rough digital sketches on her phone using a drawing ap. She recreates the digital drawings using a combination of Japanese watercolor and Flashe paint which she applies to the canvas with Sumi brushes she purchased in Japan. “I adopted the practice of digital sketching because I often find myself inspired to create art when I am away from my studio.  Since I always have my phone on me, the drawing ap is the perfect tool.  I love using my finger to draw on the screen and create digital brush strokes then returning to my studio and recreating those strokes with the Sumi brushes.”

Rodney Stuart creates wood/mixed media sculptor. “Wood has always been a material that I have been drawn to.  In Taiwan where I was an art teacher I collected flotsam and jetsam on the beaches from the annual typhoons. A large amount of that wood was from old fishing boats that were destroyed by the storms. In the Gorge I gather driftwood from storms and branches from my property. I am attracted to how the weather and the aging process have created a patina of colors on materials.” Mannerism in all things living has always fascinated him. Heads and portraits are probably his favorite subjects. “I lean more towards simplicity of mannerism and story line as well as the use of simple materials to create the right face or head.  I like creating heads that have some sense of evil, good and fun. I identify more with folk and funk art points of view, which demonstrate more the artist’s lives, personalities and experiences. My point of view is a sense of humor, senselessness and autobiographical references. I also like a sense of ambiguity and an unlikely mixture of materials and techniques. With my own work I am going back to the characters I read about in books as a child, international toys or things I have picked up from my dreams. I see my role more as a jester, shaman or storyteller. I try to place an importance on play, openness, humor and simplicity. In these creations I have tried to connect with my childhood, which has been a powerful source for my art. Making objects provides me with a way to impact people both through teaching and being a creative individual!”