|KIM MATTHEWS WHEATON
KIM MATTHEWS WHEATON WAS BORN IN 1950, IN NEW YORK CITY. SHE GREW UP AND ATTENDED SCHOOL IN SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTICUT, AND BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA. SINCE 1997 SHE HAS LIVED AND PAINTED IN THE COLUMBIA BASIN REGION OF EASTERN WASHINGTON, WITH HER FAMILY, DOGS, AND HORSES CLOSE AT HAND.
SERIOUS PAINTING BEGAN IN HIGH SCHOOL AND WAS FOLLOWED BY FORMAL TRAINING AND A BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS DEGREE FROM U.C. BERKELEY. INSTRUCTION FROM ELMER BISCHOFF AND THE READY ACCESS TO WORKS BY RICHARD DIEBENKORN AND WAYNE THIEBAUD WERE FORMATIVE INFLUENCES.
EARLY WORKS INCLUDED LARGE OIL CANVASES OF THE GENTLY SEDUCTIVE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE. THERE FOLLOWED A 20-YEAR PERIOD OF HIGHLY REPRESENTATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL PAINTING, EXECUTED IN GOUACHE (WATERCOLOR) AND FEATURING THE DISTINCTIVE BUILDING STYLES OF NEW MEXICO, SAN FRANCISCO, PARIS, VENICE, AND THE CARIBBEAN. THIS BODY OF WORK EMPHASIZED THE INTERPLAY OF LIGHT, SHADOWS, AND SURFACES.
BY IMMERSING HERSELF IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS CLOSER TO THE WESTERN FRONTIER, THE ARTIST HAS COME FULL CIRCLE. HER CURRENT WORK, ONCE AGAIN IN OIL, BRINGS HER BACK TO A PALETTE INSPIRED BY NATURE'S OWN COLORS AND FEATURES THE WIDE ROLLING EXPANSES AND DRAMATIC VERTICAL COULEES OF THE COLUMBIA PLATEAU COUNTRY.
In 1997 I moved to Eastern Washington with my family and was immediately struck by the subtle and magnetic landscape. I found its scale and vastness irresistible with its endless horizons, strong shapes, subtle colors and interesting textures. I wanted to distill them down to their essence without sacrificing the realism of the landscape. I was exhilarated by the challenge of taking a simple palette of primary hues to create the subtle, muted tones of far distant fields and rich vibrant foregrounds and finding ways using color, light and shadow to communicate the wonder I felt by a landscape that often goes unseen because it is perceived as bleak and monotonous. My quest is for the paintings to bring a sense of calm and serenity to the viewer and to myself.