My work depicts a history of objects and machines that have been lost in the advancement of technology and time. My still life paintings of obsolete machines, worn and outdated luggage without wheels, used books and tried and true toys are filled with reverence, reverence for the human ingenuity they represent and for the inherent beauty of the objects themselves. I paint the objects as relics as if they were some kind of icon. I’m constantly keeping my eyes and ears open for subject matter that excites me to the point of wanting to bring the objects back to life.
I really enjoy painting the surfaces of my still life objects. I capture the wear of age by scratching into the painting surface, flicking paint and applying multiple glazes making the object appear to have endured on canvas what it has endured in real life. When viewed up close the painting reads as painterly expressionist abstract but from a distance the painting is almost that of photo realism.
Editorial writer, Gail Leggio remarks, “One element of her presentation is crucial: the way she stages the object – formally, even regally. Some still-life artists cultivate the idea that a particular arrangement is serendipitous. Artist and view agree to the fiction, understanding that, however casual it seems, the composition has been deliberately constructed. Chidester presents her machine with the dignity of a court portrait. The choice of background color contributes very effectively to the sense of dignity. Chidester might be thought of as a curator/anthropologist, studying the ancestor gods of modern technology. Wendy Chidester is not only salvaging a piece of the past, she is transforming it through her painting.”