New England artist Wendy Seller has encompassed a wide variety of mediums and disciplines over the past several years. Today, it is her neo-surrealist works which astound and impress the eye, the mind, and the soul of the viewer. This October, fifteen of her paintings will be on exhibit in the Taft Gallery here at St. Mark’s.
She has always created art that celebrates the concept of three dimensions. She began building elaborate marionette puppets when she was ten, and continued with this hobby until she went off to the Rhode Island School of Design. Trained as a sculptor at RISD, Seller’s earliest work included the design and construction of a 1000 square-foot Habitable Box Sculpture in 1980-1982. Fiberglass was her medium of choice, until the dangers of long-term exposure became apparent, and she shifted her focus to painting in oils. She found her visions better translated onto a two-dimensional surface using the “illusion” of three-dimensionality, and her neo-surrealist canvases were featured in exhibitions around the country and the world. Art lovers in Arizona, Texas, Florida, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as well as in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have seen her work on display, and her paintings have appeared in European collections. Then once again, it all changed.
“In 2009, without warning,” she said, “I took another 180º turn with my work when I reluctantly enrolled in an Adobe Illustrator class to strengthen my teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. Despite my initial distaste for digital media as a tool for my own art making, I experienced a eureka moment that radically altered how I thought about my image-making process. While struggling with an assignment for this class (and wishing I was painting), I discovered a direct parallel between my 'process of layering' with oils and the 'digital layering' capabilities found in the computer-generated programs of Photoshop and Illustrator.” Thus began her exploration into and her creation of neo-surrealist collages. “Her neo-surrealist oil paintings using houses as a metaphorical image have shifted to collaged works that involve digital media and gouache interchangeably,” described one reviewer. “Her new images are layered compilations using her paintings, visuals from art history, photography and scanned nature forms, which are digitally manipulated and reworked in gouache.”
Fifteen of these neo-surrealist collages can be seen in the Putnam Family Art Center’s Taft Hall gallery here on the St. Mark’s campus throughout October. “I am excited for my students to learn and be influenced by Ms. Sellers paintings,” says long-time St. Mark’s art teacher Aggie Belt. “I am interested in her layering technique, her content and the way she plays with recycling past work.”
Currently an Assistant Professor in RISD’s Division of Foundation Studies, Wendy Seller’s studio was featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, Art/New England Magazine, and most recently on the Design*Spongeblog. In 2011, her work was featured in the article 10 Stunning Surrealist Artists from the Modern Era, written by Kathryn Vercillo.
You can see more of her art and learn more about her work at http://www.wendyseller.com