PROJECT braveART is pleased to present the work of Maryellen Stewart…
Maryellen Stewart was born in Nevada, grew up on ranches, and has always lived in the West. She earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University, a BA in art and a Masters in art education from Western Washington University, and an MFA from Claremont Graduate School. Her work includes painting, printmaking and sculpture, and her inspiration is the land.
Maryellen is currently working on a series of monotypes and paintings for her upcoming Pop-up to open on the first weekend of June at the freeform art space in Santa Fe.
In her work, Maryellen Stewart, shows the evidence of a lifetime’s meditation on the landscape of the West as a place of spiritual renewal. Her work employs certain strategies of formalism and repetition to contemplate geographical stratifications, weather patterns, and the shifting relationships between light, elements and air. Her vision in this long-term contemplation of the topography has taken Stewart’s art style into several directions. In certain bodies the land, sky and water are like Koan poems in terms of her ability to paint a visceral plane with reductive iterations that are fully complete abstract vistas. In other bodies, the landscape is further abstracted into bands of layered color and texture. These bands are not the sterile stripes of minimalism but painted stripes of a landscapist. Upon closer look these stripes are heavily worked and reworked.
Says Stewart, “It has been said that artists essentially make the same work over and over. I think this is true. In my work there is repetition of the rectangle, horizon line, diagonal marks or forms. Also layering, which honestly comes from trying something, rejecting something, redoing something and rejecting it again and again. Eventually this can provide depth and texture. The poet, T. S. Eliot wrote, ‘. . .And the end of all our exploring/ will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time. . . “ I love this idea. Finding renewal and inspiration again and again in the familiar. It is the situation where every work seems like a new experience to the artist.”
Stewart is a landscapist, crossing various territories from the hills of Milton Avery, to the flat and undulating plains of a painterly Sean Scully stripe, aware and interested in geographical layers of earth and activity whirling through the air itself. “The land, the natural world is not just beauty or serenity to me. It is tumultuous, dangerous, living, changing, powerful, intense, wild, essential. I struggle to communicate that. Some wise person said, “Being an artist is possibly being a neophyte for the rest of your life.” But Kandinsky wrote, “To slip and climb at once is not wonder. . .