Mia Scheffey — Artist’s Statement
Studio: Brattleboro, VT
Born: Western Massachusetts
The beauty of the seen world is the inspiration for my paintings. The fascinating elements of wind, water, light, and fire can be seen and felt in the powerful energy of the ocean and forest, the weather, and the changing seasons. I feel happiest when I am outside studying and absorbing this energy and then returning to the studio to create. The paintings are also an expression of an interior world as they strive to manifest an unfolding consciousness of internal experience, thereby documenting a lifelong journey of inner transformation. Hopefully, they become pieces of energy in themselves which may inspire and transform.
Painting is a dialogue between the canvas and the painter. It is a back and forth between the two mainly through the use of mark-making. The first mark happens and a responding impulse to make another mark is created. It is a continual process of walking up to the canvas, making a mark, and then stepping back and asking ‘what next?’ Painting is asking and listening. The painter asks and the painting answers, the painter listens and delivers.
I see the canvas as an energy field with line, color, and form as the expressive language. I never know what a finished painting will look like. The work itself is a process of discovery as one mark leads to the next. The best painting does not come from my mind through thinking but when my hand makes the marks and chooses the colors spontaneously in a process transcending thought. There is another language happening here, not the linear language. It is an intuitive knowing or glimpse of something beyond what is readily seen and known. That is why good abstract painting is so difficult. Each venture is into unknown territory. What feels uncomfortable, raw or strange may be valuable new ground.
The painting develops a life of its own which increases in intensity as it evolves. As it nears wholeness and completion the surface tension becomes more sensitized. Each mark has more of an effect and stakes become higher. Mistakes are more apparent and harder to correct. When it is ‘done’ or has arrived at a place of peaceful although not static equilibrium, the energy of the painting circulates within itself no longer asking for another mark or color to be added. The light within and radiating from the canvas has reached what I feel to be its highest expression.
I create in series so that I explore one theme in depth over many paintings until I feel I am done. I then stop for a while, sometimes for months until the inspiration for the next series comes again. I have always been aware of the mysterious ‘something’ that exists just beyond or through that which we can see and experience. It is this unseen presence felt at certain times and places that ultimately intrigues and excites me, leading me to create a new painting as a doorway to even more penetrating vision.
Education School of the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts
Johnson Vermont Studio School, Staff 1985 Exhibitions
Liberty Hotel, Boston Mass.
Group Show 2017 Sitka Gallery, Fitchburg Mass.
2017 Brattleboro Art Museum ‘Luscious’
2015 Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, Vermont ‘Beneath the Surface’
2014 Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, Vermont ‘Oceana One’ Installation of multi-paneled oil paintings
2013 Hooker Dunham Gallery, Brattleboro, Vermont ‘Vermont Waterlands’
2007-2012 Gallery in the Woods, Brattleboro,Vermont ‘One Fire’ ‘Ocean’ ‘New Drawings’
2005 Brattleboro Museum and Art Centre, Brattleboro, Vermont ‘In the Zone’ Bridget Moore, DC Gallery; Juror
2004 Hooker Dunham Gallery , Brattleboro, Vermont ‘Fire Drawings’
2002 Ava Gallery, Lebanon, New Hampshire Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton , Massachusetts Solo shows
1997 Stratton Arts Festival, Stratton, New Hampshire
Recipient of Eleanor Janeway Fellowship 1996
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, New Hampshire ‘Regional Selections’
1995 Thorne-Sagandorf Art Gallery, Keene, New Hampshire
Decordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts
1994 Tyler Gallery Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont ‘Seven Horses’