Raised in Gillette, Wyoming—Blanche Guernsey is a contemporary artist, wife, and mother of five. As an introvert, Guernsey considers her artwork to be a reflection of her experiences and surroundings. She depicts commonplace objects through the lens of a distant memory. Early pieces of work by Guernsey depict family and loved ones in pastel portraits. Now she uses oils to create bold colors, soft edges, and a dream-like presence to inspire a universal feeling of nostalgia.
Guernsey is represented by the AVA Community Art Center in Gillette, WY. She is also the center’s former Gallery, Class, and Party Coordinator. Guernsey is the recipient of awards such as People’s Choice (2014 and 2017) for the Local Color Invitational Gala and Volunteer of the Year for AVA Community Art Center (2008). She has been seen on the cover of Livability Magazine (2014) and in a feature for W of Wyoming Magazine (2015).
Many public collections by Guernsey can be found in Gillette, where she lives and creates today. The self-taught artist’s work can also be found in varying galleries and displays across the country. She is represented by Wyoming Art & Frame in Gillette, WY, Scarlow’s Gallery in Casper, WY, and is a long-time member of SAGE in Sheridan, WY. You can also find her pieces in the gift shop at the DAHL in Rapid City, SD.
I am an artist who uses painting to interrogate the relationship between memory and those ‘silent’ objects that seem to trigger a plethora of forgotten smells, textures, colors, and moments. When these silent objects speak, what is it that they say? And why do they move us the way that they do?
Memories are a strange concept in themselves; fragments of shattered moments, fleeting glimpses of the past. Feelings can move through you as shards of time flicker on your mind as if played from the tatty wheel of a super 8mm projector. A cone of golden light from a lens, filled with floating, dancing dust spores, casting a delicate square of quiet memories on a wall. Memories are powerful, intangible, ethereal. So often, these memories, these strange instances, are triggered by objects that can take us back to a specific time or place. My work examines these objects in such a way that the viewer might share a glimpse of their significance.
Through subtle yet bold brushwork, focused enough to beautifully render an image but loose enough to evoke the feeling of a shimmering memory, I render portraits of these silent objects. These images, at first seemingly bereft of people or places, suddenly feel filled with them; the objects carry the weight of a hundred stories, suggested by fraying laces, dusty lenses, and well-loved toys. The paintings, of course, become silent objects in themselves; they are gestures to nostalgia, to care, to a life lived.
I hope that the images might connect us; in the personal beginnings of selected objects, there is something universal in the stories and memories they evoke. This is something that connects us all, across time. These are images about care, about significance, about cherishing a moment as it passes and remembering it fondly when it visits, perhaps whispered by one of those silent objects.