Courtney Chetister

Wavering Tides

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oil on canvas, 2020, 24”x30”

Artist Statement

I aim to give viewers an insight on minuscule textures and qualities of surfaces I notice on a regular basis, textures and surfaces that others may dismiss as ordinary. My work is influenced by various childhood experiences and traditions that have impacted my life, positively or negatively, and by my nature as an observer. 

My primary medium of choice is photography because of the ability to capture what catches my eye. I use both digital and alternative methods, usually salted paper; which is a historic process that achieves sepia tones. I also explore these themes in abstract paintings, with techniques that are influenced by the emotions derived from my past and present family experiences. 

My current photographic work is titled “Rock Collection. The inspiration for this work comes from a childhood tradition of mine, collecting seashells at the beach. I grew up visiting the Outer Banks in North Carolina every summer, and each year I would bring back more shells. Since moving to the Fredericksburg area, I’ve continued this tradition through collecting rocks by the Rappahannock River. I’m using this series as a way to showcase the unique qualities of river rocks, while connecting to a beloved activity from my childhood. 

A recent painting titled “Oblivion” is an abstract representation of feelings toward family members who have inflicted emotional abuse upon me. Although it has its own personal meaning, the textures and tactile qualities of the piece are universal so the abusers are not aware content. In this large black color field painting – I use oil paint, textured impasto mediums, and a palette knife to create points that lift off the canvas into the viewer’s space. The sides are painted a flat chartreuse that create a luminescent quality on the wall to give emphasis to the content on the front.  

The experiences from my childhood have followed me through life, good or bad. I want my work to reflect my history, but also my present that has been continuously influenced by my past. Hopefully it will allow others to pause to reflect on their own experiences as well.