Rhea Ann Chamness


Rhea Ann Chamness

I can tell you the precise moment i was inspired to become an artist. It was in 1983 when i was with a small group of friends clustered around Henry Moore in his studio outside London. We were there to present him with a documentary film on the making and installation of "The Dallas Piece”. He was gracious, without hauteur, but i was most struck by his quietly fierce passion for art. He surrounded himself with baskets of debris – the fossils, bones and industrial discard that often served as a starting point for his modern sculptures. He seemed a man simultaneously at peace, and a man with a mission so, i wondered, is it possible to aim my life in this direction?

Simply saying, he, his work, and that one time and place were inspirational in helping me realize and develop my own artistic endeavors. Over time, i was able to fuse and focus longstanding creative impulses that had found form in photography, interior design and gardening into a deeper passion. With an academic background in art history at SMU and the benefit of extensive travel and experience of diverse cultures, the transition to painting was natural.

I love the physical aspect of painting – the pushing and pulling, the scraping back of paint to reveal an unknown object or form, the random and controlled marks, the layer after layer of paint and other media, all to create a lingering thought, feeling or vision. All the while, still keeping myself open to the painting leading me down an unexpected path as it reveals itself. It is exciting to reinterpret a work as it comes along, and i greatly enjoy when others see things in my paintings i may not. Indeed, the differing perspective of viewers often intrigues me. Why not? Art is subjective and personal!

Working on five or six canvasses at a time, i am constantly experimenting with new techniques, media and concepts. This helps me keep the creative process in balance without becoming frustrated with any one idea or method. When one canvas reaches its capacity for the moment, I'm on to the next. 

Rhea Ann

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