Scott Redden: The Enigma of Contemporary Americana Paintings
Scott Redden’s work transports us to a rural world that is familiar and classically American. His paintings are beautiful; quaint farmhouses sit atop lush golden hills and vast blue skies stretch as far as the eye can see.
However, there is something deeper to uncover within these scenes. Firstly, the lack of people creates a sense of initial uneasiness and transforms what would be a friendly family farm into an empty and alien landscape. Furthermore, Redden’s paintings don’t include many depictions of plant life or any objects besides the fields and houses. The barren landscape along with the lack of distraction makes the farmhouse the natural focal point of the composition. In this way, the striking detail and depth of the farmhouse creates a juxtaposition with the rather flat background and foreground. This mismatch creates the illusion of a collage, with elements from different images pasted together.
Redden’s use of two point perspective in the painting of the houses and deliberate omission of perspective in the foreground also contributes to a unique feeling. While the houses themselves are 3-dimensional, the rolling fields in the foreground do not display any traditional form of linear perspective. As a result it is almost impossible for viewers to accurately discern the distance between themselves and the houses.
Indeed, the farmhouse is a familiar image in this strangely foreign landscape. Redden’s paintings are seemingly simple at first, but upon further inspection, numerous intricate and clever elements reveal themselves. Venture into a beautiful yet enigmatic world through Scott Redden’s paintings!
What’s unique about your work?
My paintings have always embraced traditional themes, but allow for a contemporary edge. The paintings depict recognizable imagery seen quickly at a glance; they are direct and colorful. However, upon further viewing, one begins to see that the deceptively simple subjects are actually quite sophisticated in their formal compositions and nuanced surfaces, which works well in a variety of interior designs.
What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?
Art should never blend in with the furniture. An artwork should be viewed, or act as a striking focal point, or a central axis to the room’s design. An artwork should declare itself as soon as someone enters a room.
What is your favorite material to work with?
I always work in oils. There is a depth of color that is unique to oil paint, so impactful, which I embrace wholeheartedly. And I love the painted mess of oil tubes, and the smell of turpentine in the air of the studio. I am an artist through and through.
How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your process?
My paintings take their time in coming to life. I work in stages, and in sections, slowly building up painted surfaces while defining the space within the canvas structure. There is a simplicity within any given panel. Yet, any viewer will see that nothing is quickly rendered. The time involved in creating an artwork equates to, or reveals a kind of love, if I can call it that. Perhaps this is a romantic notion. But without love, art fails.
What funny moments, unexpected surprises, or obstacles have you encountered?
I have been surprised in meeting buyers without my knowing them. For instance, I once was introduced to a lovely couple, mother and daughter, through a friend. And while we were all having lunch, they talked about a painting they owned and had hanging in Amsterdam. Wouldn’t you know it, it was mine! It’s a small world at times. What a life!
What motivates and inspires you?
Inspiration doesn’t direct an artist. What I do is ‘work’, plain and simple. I clock in and clock out. I am motivated by some undefined need to make things. And the process is complete when I see a painting displayed and lighting up a room.
What makes a space special?
I have been fortunate to have exhibited my paintings in many galleries. It is a unique experience to see a body, or range, of an artist’s work in a single and uncluttered space. But then to redirect an artwork, or multiple pieces, to a new environment, I find it hugely flattering to find individual buyers who value, enjoy in contemplation, and ultimately take care of my paintings. I love sending my art out there into the world.
Scott Redden depicts archetypal American farm scenes that most viewers recognize instantly. Yet, they seem somewhat foreign at the same time. In this way, Redden’s paintings become enticing artistic enigmas that we can’t get enough of.