Wendy James

Storefront by Wendy James (24"x18", acrylic on canvas, 2010)

Essex Junction, Vermont

In a style that combines American realism with a contemporary, electric pallete, Wendy James makes paintings that work like photographs. Their perspective is more akin to the lens than the eye. Working from a digital photograph, she first plays with the color in Photoshop.

She explains, “My intent is to make the viewer rethink our common, everyday scenes or objects and taste them as a new color flavor.” She invites the viewer to step into an impossible environment of altered perspective and symbolic references.

James also works in photomontage.

She writes: “I have always had a fascination with dreams. Many of my black and white photomontages are surreal environments.  I like the viewer to imagine they are in the photo so I often add a single person as a port of entry. The figures are intentionally unrecognizable, maybe a shadow, silhouette, or just a part of a figure, in hopes that the viewer will momentarily become that person. The environments are equivalents of the figure’s inner world.

“I choose to work in black and white because it’s easy to merge image tones. I also like the punch of high contrast, especially rich dark areas that become endless black holes. I try to emphasize patterns and textures, and without color to distract, the repetitions are more dramatic. Diagonals are another favorite. Converging lines and shape coax the viewer to be drawn into the background. I play with distorting perspective, often flipping between birds and worm view. I love the strong angles of human-made forms matched with endless skies. My process involves pouring through old negatives and new digital images. I use Photoshop to blend unlikely combinations. I try to match edges seamlessly to make the unreal more believable.”

James studied Art Education at Glassboro State College in New Jersey.  Since 1979, she has taught ceramics and photography in Essex Junction, Vermont. She exhibits her work in group shows around Vermont such as Art’s Alive Festival of Fine Art, Northern Vermont Artist Association, the South End Art Hop and at a number of galleries around the state.


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