16 Blocks Magazine - Issue #19

Page 20


by Jeffrey Pillow

20 1 6 B L O C K S

ith her brush, she paints a different world, one in which the physical boundary is not limitable but bounded and replaced by the firing scintilla of the imagination. From her stained fingers, acrylic paint is flicked onto the canvas, and she watches it run, trailing downward only to sputter out, catching hold to a groove on the woven fabric medium; the trail of paint, blues and greens, yellows and reds mix, then harden; the seed of a new creation hatches, “released from any already existent thing, [the] content lies in [itself],” as neo-plasticist Naum Gabo said some seventy years past. A native of Pulaski County, Virginia, Jessey Schaudt of Christiansburg is one of a fleeting breed: the American painter. Gone are the days it often seems when busy hands till the soils of their mind, watering the seeds of a vast imagination, bringing to life some new idea, some creation expressive of one’s soul. If idle hands are the Devil’s playground, the Devil himself can only smile as new generations fervidly text message their lives away. Thankfully, it is the unwavering attitude and history of the artist to reject much of what the contemporary world offers, and to instead center every spare minute on recreating an intimate sense of Self both clothed and unclad. “I grew up in a family of strong women and consider myself one of them now,” Schaudt says of her upbringing, “and I think my paintings reflect that.” Case in point, “Self Portrait with Parrot,” 24” x 36”, which can be seen at schaudtgallery.mosaicglobe. com. The artist sits erect in the foreground. Her wide eyes attentive, looking directly ahead, her expression almost challenges the viewer to turn his or her eyes from her stare. With her left arm horizontally positioned underneath her chin, a green feathered parrot with a dash of red sits unruffled on her index finger. Like the viewer, the parrot’s attention rests on the artist. Its vivid beauty is secondary to the unblinking, stalwart expression of Schaudt. A strong woman indeed. Asked which artists have influenced her, Schaudt is quick to mention many of the greats: Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Chagall, but says, “My friends are my favorite artists: Bitsy Pina, Laura Pierce, Allie Kelley, and Jesse Holland”; and it is with this sense of a greater community and purpose that the character of Schaudt is clearly portrayed in her work. “I prefer to do portraits and build the world around them, like a blend of science fiction, romance, and biography,” she continues. “I love bright colors, and especially the juxtaposition of complementary colors to make the subject most memorable.” Schaudt, it can only be said, embodies a spirit and outlook on her craft similar to those of America’s first Impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt. As Cassatt once said, “I have touched with a sense of art some people; they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?” For more information on Jessey Schaudt, including queries on a commissioned piece for your home or collection, visit www.schaudtgallery.mosaicglobe. com or contact her by e-mail at JRSchaudt@gmail.com.