Up to 25 works on show
May 22-June 5, 2009
Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art
702 Canyon Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 986-1156
Get Real
     Three realist artists from Helper, Utah, unite for a group show at Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with an exhibition of their latest works inspired by memories, antiquity and the commonplace.
     The show, titled Get Real, features works by Wendy Chidester, Charley Snow and Ben Steele, who may all hail from the same town, but their influences are as varied as their approaches.
     Wendy Chidester says her inspiration comes directly through the antique objects she paints.
     “It’s because of the history they hide, the scars they show and the memories they evoke. My paintings cause the viewer to reflect on a simpler time,” says Chidester. “My work oftentimes sparks a communication between generations as a parent or grandparent shares memories of an object with children or grandchildren.


The Gallery Says . . .
“This exciting group show, Get Real, features three artists from Helper, Utah, that bring to mind a nostalgic American landsape that people yearn for these days—the American dream realized on canvas.”
                                                                                                        —Palin Wilshire, Director, Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art

  Wendy Chidester, Typewriter on Green, oil on canvas, 36x32”


Ben Steele, Merril Inn, oil on canvas 55x50”


Wendy Chidester,Lunch Box and Red Stripe Thermos, oil on canvas 24x24


     By bringing the object alive visually I’m hoping the viewer will also remember the sound, smell and touch of the object.”
     Chidester’s love for painting forgotten objects stems from her time in Helper, Utah, a small mining town that is evolving into an artist community.
     “I was browsing through an antique store on Main Street one day, when I noticed a collection of old cameras on display. I borrowed several of them to take back to my studio to paint,” says Chidester. “While painting the cameras I couldn’t help but imagine the photos the cameras had taken, the adventures each camera had seen and who the cameras owners were. I have since been enamored by objects that were made to last forever but have lastly been forgotten or replaced.”
     Ben Steele is taken in by the historical context of art and is compelled to break down “the technical skill as well as the social impact a meaningful piece of art makes.”
     “I like to believe that my work is simultaneously a satire and a homage to famous artworks,” says Steele. “I also find that my particular style of art encourages me to learn as much as I can about art history and the art world. I also enjoy the conversation that the work creates between me and people who view it or collect it. The work is meant to be a commentary on how I see the world, and it’s exciting when I get to share that with other people and hear about their point of view.”
Steel keeps a sketchbook full of ideas and then lets them evolve in his imagination until he can see it on canvas.
     “If I need reference or source material, I track it down or sketch it. Since my subject matter can be so diverse, I try to paint each painting in a manner that suits it. Some are much more layered, while others might be painted pretty directly,” says Steele.
For Charley Snow, inspiration comes from one of two sources” individual cows and common places.
“For the portraits, I’m inspired by the cow itself––it might seem strange, but I think there are cows that are more aesthetically beautiful than others. I think cows evoke empathy in the viewer––people can feel connected to cows in an open way,” says Snow.“ Other times I get the concept for painting from being in a place that’s loaded with expectations or can be taken for granted, like the subway or beach.”
Participating in an exhibition with other artists from his town is a unique experience, one that Snow hope will resonate with viewers.
     “I’m happy to be in a show with two Helper contemporaries and good friends. Their is definitely a Helper aesthetic and work ethic,” says Snow. “Hopefully having three of us in the same show will help communicate that to everyone who sees it.”

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     exhibiting gallery go to