Christina Chalmers 1948 - 2017
It is with profound respect and deep sadness to share that Christina Chalmers left this earth on January 20. It is painful for us to lose such a deep and complex friend and artist. Christina was quite present with her family at the end, they celebrated her life and her passing was a profound and beautiful experience for her and her children.
Christina Chalmers' work and her commitment to it was above everything. It was sophisticated, unique, simple in its message and meticulously achieved. Christina, as many of you know, was a beautiful gypsy. She loved setting up amazing studios near and in far away places, always searching for materials that captivated and inspired her wherever she was. Christina had a beautiful and amazing life and she was very grateful and she will be missed.
In her words - “Each of my works is a personal epic. Each garment image is a cloak, which shelters a universe luminous, spacious, incalculably rich and truly vulnerable. Finally, for me, there is this question: Does the light descend from the sky or rise out of us?"
“Each of my works is a small, personal epic. Each garment image is a cloak, which shelters a universe luminous, spacious, incalculably rich and truly vulnerable. Finally, for me, there is this question: Does the light descend from the sky or rise out of us?"
“You are the fiery life of divine substance, you blaze above the beauty of the fields, you shine in the waters, you burn in sun, moon and stars.” -- Hildegard Von Bingen
“In archetypal symbolism, clothing represents persona, a kind of camouflage which lets others know only what we wish them to know about us and nothing more. We are often "clothed" in our own private illusions of ourselves…power, money, success, pleasure, but there is really no substance to this "clothing"; it only cloaks what is deep inside and invisible...
the creative, unique and mysterious inner self. This work is about that with which we clothe ourselves and the "human divinity" or true self which lies hidden beneath.
During the winters, I live on a farm in the south of France in a wilderness area of
flamingos and wild white horses near the Mediterranean Sea. My studio is in an old barn, and there, I found a trunk filled with carefully folded, very old clothes. They were delicate and all hand-sewn, with lace and embroidery done in painfully small and labored stitching.
I also found an old journal with fragile, transparent pages dated one hundred years ago. On and near the farm, I took photographs of things in nature, things especially fragile and vulnerable. I printed my photographs onto some of the old fabrics and the pages of the journal and made drawings of sacred geometry on others to put into the paintings. These things inspired me and have become a part of my work in recent years.
Everyday, as I opened the trunk, I felt somewhat like an archeologist violating an Egyptian tomb, and as I worked with the fabrics, carefully undoing the tiny stitches, I imagined the lives of the women who had made them. After working, I reverently re-folded each cloth and placed it in the trunk as if each were a raiment, a holy vestment, a shroud, and I felt as if I had somehow participated in both the grief and beauty of someone's life.
Each of my paintings is a small, personal epic. Each garment image is a cloak, which shelters a universe luminous, spacious, incalculably rich and truly vulnerable. Finally, for me, there is this question: "Does the light descend from the sky or rise out of us?"
1948 - 2017
Christina Chalmers is a mixed media artist that works between and often integrates several media including painting, sculpture, video, photography, and installation in her nature inspired pieces. In need of movement and change, Chalmers is based in Santa Fe, NM but also maintains studios in Mendocino, CA and Camargue, France. Each of her homes presents a crucial interaction with distinct materials and landscapes that progress her intuitive creative process. Dominant motifs in Christina’s work are often everyday objects such as dresses, birds, books, and flowers that she coats in greater potency by using found organic objects, vintage lace and textiles, handmade felt, antique manufactured hardware, reused books and diaries, beeswax, lead, copper, and paint. In her multi-dimensional works, themes of passion, interrelation, migration, nature and, human divinity revolve and reappear.
Her experiences as a fine art weaver, a Waldorf and public school educator in California, an arts collective founder and organizer in Santa Barbara, and a set designer in Los Angeles and New York City have all found their place in her contemporary work as well. There is a creative fearlessness as well as theatricality that permeates her sculpture and video work. Chalmers juxtaposes fragile and strong materials to metaphorically present the differences in male and female roles throughout history.
The layered allusions in her work reflect the eclecticism of her inspiration; she equally draws on the work of artist Joseph Bueys, writer and activist James Agee, director Andrei Tarkovsky, composer Arvo Part, photographer Walker Evans, and naturalist, educator, and anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner.
Chalmers was born in West Virginia and grew up in Iowa where she earned an MA from the University of Iowa. Her work has been widely exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe including exhibitions at Deitch Projects and the Alternative Museum of NYC, Orange County Center for the Contemporary Arts of CA and is represented by the Selby Fleetwood Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.
1984 MA in Art & Education, Rudolf Steiner College, Sacramento, CA
1969 BA in Art & Literature, University of Iowa
Selby Fleetwood Gallery, SFe, NM, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Denise Roberge Fallery, Palm Desert, CA, 2008
Deitch Projects, NYC, NY, 2008
Art & Soul Gallery, Boulder, CO, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2001
Box Gallery, SFe, NM, 2007
Walker Fine Art, Denver, CO, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2000
HTC Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, 2006, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997
Gallerie di Fontesseca, Spoleto, Italy, 2003
Mas dâ€™Icard, Provence, France, 2003
Deloney Newkirk Fine Art, SFe, NM, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995
FaÃ§ade Gallery, Paris, France, 2001
Chiaroscuro Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, 2001
RVS Fine Art, Southampton, NY, 2001, 2000
Studio Arte Gallerie, Spoleto, Italy, 2001, 1999
Port Jackson Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA, 2000, 1999, 1998
Lumina Gallery, Taos, NM, 1999, 1998
Ramscale Art Assoc., NYC, NY, 1999
Trinity Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 1998
Bobbi Walker Fine Art, Denver, CO, 1998
Gallerie Fonte Seca, Spoleto, Italy, 1997
Suzanne Brown Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, 1997, 1996
Orange County CCA, Newport Beach, CA, 1996
Sloan Jordan Gallery, Austin, TX, 1996
Lifetime Television, NYC, NY, 1995
La Sol Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA, 1995
Art Soup Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA, 1994, 1991
Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL, 1994
Sculpture, NBC Television, NYC, NY, 1993
Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 1992
Alternative Museum, NYC, NY, 1991
UC Santa Barbara, CA, 1990
Atkinson Gallery, City College, Santa Barbara, CA, 1990
Westmont College, Montecito, CA, 1990
2009 Art News
2007 American Art Collector
2006 American Art Collector
2000 Focus Santa Fe
1998 Focus Santa Fe
La Posada Resort Hotel, SFe, NM
George Michael, London, England
Midwest Wireless Corp, Minneapolis, MN
Hutchinson Telecommunication, Minneapolis, MN
Awards and Honors
Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, First place award |
Westmont College, First place award
Santa Monica Museum, Top Ten Artists of So. California
Purdue University, Southwestern Women Artists Award