Kathryn Stedham: “True West”
A New Series of Paintings that Capture the Rugged Richness and Solitude of the Southwest Landscape with a Modernist Sensibility.
In a series of large-scale landscape paintings contained only by the limits of the canvas, Stedham seeks to project an image of the Southwest that is both enduring and true. She has always felt a strong desire to be in the Southwest, absorbing all that the landscape has to offer. The vast, wide open landscape and rugged formations of New Mexico offer an endless opportunity for creative exploration in her paintings.
The artist shares, “I feel an urgency to portray this space, rooting out the mystic snippets of a quickly vanishing landscape. I seek to capture its raw and often awkward elegance in the rapidly changing light, vast distances, rugged escarpments, colorful mesas and hidden arroyos—to excavate the bones of existence in this terrain where the West is still wild and free and to be an explorer of this ineffable mystery.” Stedham starts her process in plein air, visiting these solitary places, getting a feeling for the light and how it changes throughout the day to reveal the best possible framework for a painting. Here she creates small, quick plein air studies that she then takes back to her studio to use as information for larger scale paintings that will ultimately convey a distilled impression of the landscape she has so thoughtfully studied.
Given her first paint by number set at the age of four, it was clear that Stedham was right where she belonged, with a paintbrush in-hand. While growing up, she was introduced to the skillfully crafted and hand-painted furniture created by her grandfather, who made his living as a carpenter. Embracing his granddaughter’s talents, Stedham was encouraged to help paint motifs of flowers and fruit on the surfaces of the chairs, chests, and jewelry boxes he was best known for making. By the time she was fifteen, the young artist had her own commercial studio and began to support herself from the sale of her paintings.
Stedham was trained as an Academic Realist and began her career as a figurative painter. Gradually her interest evolved, through a period of pure abstraction, into the gestural Alla Prima painting style for which she is known today. She has been an exhibiting artist for over 35 years and her work has been featured in public and private collections throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Canada.
Kathryn Stedham’s original works in oil are meant to be savored, and her new suite of work entitled “True West” will undoubtedly be breathtaking when viewed as a whole. Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of this fine painter during the opening reception or during the duration of the show.
View all work by Kathryn Stedham HERE.