Saturday, June 30, 2012

After the work, we finally see

waiting to be varnished, our paintings ©2012 Megan Chapman

Dear Readers,

It's been a busy week as artist Stewart Bremner and I have been doing last minute touches on our work and we are happy to report that we have completed our new series of collaborative paintings for our "A place called home" exhibition.

We have created fifteen 12x12" mixed media paintings on panel. Fifteen seemed a bit spare at first, but I always listen to a body of work, especially when it tells me it is finished. These fifteen pieces while being entirely abstract hold fragments of land, sky and the colors of Stewart's country and mine. They represent us both and yet they become something completely singular and new. While looking at them on the walls and in the studio as we varnished them, I felt a sense of pride at what we had created together. These works are again so different from what I would paint alone. They are related to what I paint but they would never have been born this way without Stewart's hand and vision, without his experience of living and I think he would say the same thing about my influence in the work as well. The paintings become bigger than ourselves, and that is a true accomplishment.

Looking at them and thinking about how they were created, feels a bit like an out of body experience. I know time was spent laboring in the studio and I know that there are many underpaintings, layers, pencil marks, mistakes and hidden stories within each piece. They are infused with memories of the summer heat, the music we listened to, the chocolate, the wine and silliness and the tense reality of painting with a tight deadline. Despite the fullness of them they feel open and clean, direct and honest and a coolness can be felt. I feel Scotland, the view from a train, a plane and the lines and trails that thread through Stewart's city and the red clay earth and the verdant green of Arkansas. We created the body of work we wanted and now that we can step away and see it, we can also start to let go as we prepare to show it at the Art Center of the Ozarks in July. We will be hanging our show on Monday.

Here is our statement: A place called home

Home is an everyday part of our lives. It is both a place and a state of mind. Some might think of home as family, friends, familiarity, comfort and ease. Others might think of opportunities, connections and a place to work. Still others may think of it simply as a place to live. Yet what happens to the definition of home when one is in a relationship that spans an ocean? For artists Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner, who live four thousand miles apart, home became a question and something to search for.

Chapman, from Fayetteville, Arkansas and Bremner from Edinburgh, Scotland, live and work together as best as they are able. Currently, no single place is their home and there is uncertainty about where in the future home may be. However, no matter where in the world they are, a sense of home can be felt when they paint.

As artists, it seemed only natural that their latest series of works should reflect both this search for home and the distance that separates them. In their paintings, the two artists reconcile not only their different backgrounds but also their individual voices in this search. The cool colors of Scotland are balanced by the warmer ones of Arkansas. Graphite lines reflect the geology of both regions, as well as the trajectory of planes slicing through space and hint at the sense of being pulled in two different directions.

While the artists float between two locations on two continents, they paint, they live and they continue their journey to find a place called home.

If you are local to the Northwest Arkansas area we hope you can visit our exhibition and join us at our opening.

A place called home 
Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
July 3-27 

Reception: Tuesday July 10th 6-8pm
Art Center of the Ozarks
Springdale, Arkansas

Learn more about our work:

P.S. Thanks to everyone who tuned in and read and shared last week's blog. Your support and feedback mean a lot to me. I think it is good for us to tackle the hard questions and the bigger picture as a community. We all come from different places on the path, but we are in this together. Until next week keep fighting, the world needs your art!

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