Oct 12, 2011

Satellite to Earth: Janice Schoultz Mudd

Satellite to Earth – The first show in our new location at 21 N. Bemiston Street, Clayton, MO features the mixed media paintings of Janice Schoultz Mudd.

Inspired by ancient navigational maps and today’s satellite imagery, Schoultz Mudd redefines the perspective of landscape art using only a creative imagination and a paint brush. With Google Earth as the point of departure, Mudd transforms everyday landscapes into abstract, vibrant, and luminous canvas paintings.

What are these paintings exactly?
These paintings are landscape based abstractions made possible by the influence of satellites, the easy proximity of Google earth, advanced infrared, x-ray ,computer and radio wave technologies, and the sailing skills of ancient mariners.

The connective tissue of prehistory to the world we live in today plays a large role in the multifaceted interpretations of landscape that define my artwork. Interwoven with this is the spiritual influence that has so often been mankind’s guide. The outcome of this interest is on ongoing body of contemporary landscape based painting that explores our world from above as well as from ground level – and often times in the same breath.

How do ancient navigational maps fit into this?
Many years ago I read a book called “The Farfarers” by Farley Mowat. It explored a theory of how ancient mariners made their way from the northern European countries to Newfoundland. Accurate or not, this got me thinking about how ancient mariners actually managed to sail out into unknown expanses of the ocean and find their way. In hindsight, early navigational maps are notoriously inaccurate, but these mariners were intrepid and steadily made advances; it’s inspiring.

How did ancient mariners worldwide know how to navigate? That’s what I wanted to know. A former naval officer and “A People’s History of Science” written by Clifford D. Conner gave me some pretty good clues. Basically man lived close to nature and paid attention to it. He used the signs that the weather, currents, sky and living creatures provided. Valuable knowledge built up from keen observation and continual trial and error was purposefully passed on to each new generation.
At the end of 500 pages I closed the book in complete awe of what we can accomplish when we put our minds to it and I had gained an understanding of how much we owe to all those everyday people who came before us.

And Satellites?? Well, the images are fascinating. I saw a series of worldwide nighttime images on Google Earth a few years ago and it was startling to observe the bright concentration of population distribution in Europe and the United States while most of Africa remained in total darkness. This is what you see from a satellite and it is an image that continually inspires my work.

Is this the only inspiration for your artwork?
No, I have a number of running themes I periodically return to, which you can see on my website . The common thread you will notice when you take a look at them though, is the luminous quality of color made possible by a technique of using numerous thin paint layers and cut and collaged materials serving for texture and definition.

Is Gateway Gallery the only place to see your paintings? Gateway Gallery is one of the places to find my work. Grafica Fine Arts in Webster Groves, Art Trends Gallery in Chesterfield and One Artist Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico carry my paintings as well. Then there are the three or four outdoor fairs I participate in each year, juried art shows and invitational exhibits such as the Margaret Harwell Art Museum in Poplar Bluffs, MO which will devote their entire facility to my work this coming March, 2012.

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