Vintage Recollections

Step back in time with Wendy Chidester’s oil paintings of vintage items.

From August 1 to 31, for show Survivors at Trove Gallery, viewers will get a look back at the old world through Wendy Chidester’s still life oil paintings. She depicts antique pieces such as typewriters, rotary dial phones and luggage without wheels, ranging from the early 1900s through the 1950s. In addition, Chidester will be revealing new subject matter involving vintage motorcycles, further encapsulating history and recalling fond memories.Limited, oil on canvas, 36 x 60″

Chidester likes to paint items that have been forgotten or replaced and gives them new life, evoking memories from the viewer. “Everything has changed so fast that it’s fun to bring those things back into our fast-paced world,” she says.

“Her work speaks to the old soul in all of us; people love to reminisce,” furthers Jen Schumacher, owner of Trove Gallery. “Her subject matter hearkens to times where things were made to last and only got better with use.”

Not only does Chidester choose subject matter from the good ol’ days, but she manages to convey the antiqued feeling in her style and technique, and in displaying each facet of an item. “I work with about 10 to 12 layers of paint on canvas before I finish,” she explains. “I block it all in, then I start getting into details and then add more paint and glazes. It gives me the aged look I want…I’m also trying to get that depth and age on canvas through scratching, sanding and flicking paint.”Peel, oil on canvas, 19 x 33″

“Chidester’s skill is evident,” Schumacher says. “When observing her work, one realizes that the shine of a typewriter key is a mere flick of white paint. Up close her paintings reveal a quality of abstraction, but from a distance they become almost photographic.”

Chidester was an avid landscape plein air painter but had an experience that changed her direction. “It started raining when I was outside painting one day, so I had to go back inside,” she says. “I then decided to visit an antique store nearby and found an old camera I thought would be fun to paint while I waited out the rain. I started thinking about where the camera had been, what photos it took and just the story behind the object itself. That’s what changed me. I also realized that I didn’t have to be at the mercy of the weather and lighting conditions when working with still life.”Filmo, oil on canvas, 36 x 32″

More recently, Chidester has diverted her subject matter to include vintage motorcycles from the early 1900s, after an inspirational visit to Legends Motorcycle Museum in Springville, Utah. “I’m always interested in the more intricate, heavy and cumbersome things,” she furthers. “[The motorcycles] are very intricate and take a lot more time than the other items I’ve been painting, but they’re fun to do. I’m not exactly sure why I was so drawn to them. There’s just such a history, a story of where they’ve been. They were pretty beat up.”Oliver, oil on canvas, 32 x 32″

There will be a few motorcycle paintings in the show collection including Limited, a beautifully detailed vintage motorcycle against a black background. In addition, there will be paintings such as Filmo, an old film reel, and Peel, a child’s pedal car from around the 1950s.

Stop by Trove Gallery starting the first of August to experience Survivors, and “appreciate the past as a contribution to where we are now,” Chidester says. “It’s nice to step back in time and try to have an appreciation for the subject itself.” —

Trove Gallery 
804 Main Street • Park City, UT 84060
(435) 655-3803 •