In my current body of work, entitled Sixteen Shrines & Signs, I am exploring the potency of mixing painted images with painted maxims. It is my hope that meaning can be more explicit through the combined power of image and word. This is contrary to the contemporary impulse in visual arts to be enigmatic. Naturally, the viewer always has the option to "complete the picture" in what is left to their imagination or have only a perceptual experience the artwork. I understand images and words are rich in personal significance thus I openly regard various interpretations of my work. However, in each piece I do have a specific concept I am trying to communicate and it relates to principles of living. That is the purpose of my art: To use a visual and verbal container to help myself and others remember unearthed or reorganized wisdom.
In the Shrines the maxims are either written from personal experience or from interviews conducted with community members who embody strength and purpose, especially those who have a disability or chronic pain. The images and words are painted on tile or wood, with special effort put into using the right layout and typeface to convey the message of each piece. I am exploring the impact of having more than one image in the layout, thereby forcing the viewer to "read" the painting in a sequential manner. My impetus for doing this is to steal some of the power of cinema and put it into two-dimensional art. Multiple related images have exponential power to direct meaning.
In the Signs series I have gleaned wisdom from both personal experience and from authors who have inspired me. (Their name is included near the quote.) The images and words are painted in oil using underpainting, glazing, or moderate impasto on archival rigid boards. My principle interest in these works is to use an economy of word and a dominant visual to create a strong focal point.
Prints of these works, from each series, are available as limited-edition digital prints. If you cannot afford to purchase a print (at $150 each) then please email me an essay requesting permission to make a single inkjet print for home use and tell me what you find valuable about the artwork. For inquiries about purchase, or permission to reproduce as a limited-rights illustration, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short Biography of Sheila Walcott Chambers