Chad Scott: Seven Years in the Desert

Large scale drawing-objects created through labor intensive, repetitive mark marking, which offered the artist time for introspection and the unpacking of significant childhood trauma.

I thought my journey to the desert would take me one place.

An unexpected turn took me to another.

And then another.

And another.

If I am being honest, writing an “artist statement” has been persistent sand in my shoe. Why? Because unlike my previous work, I am not entirely sure what this body of work is or where it is going. Quite simply, I do not know how to talk about this work and I am not entirely sure I want to talk about it. Since it is necessary, however, I will provide some commentary without pretending my words are coherent or cohesive.

Seven Years in the Desert focuses on large scale drawing-objects. Drawing-objects begin with a single line of ink on paper and become something collectively beyond through repetitious mark making. While drawing-objects are labor intensive and physically demanding, I am intrigued by the transformations that occur overtime. Surprisingly, I never liked writing in ink. I almost always write in pencil, even to this day.

Of course, there is more to say—something about form and content, a hot take on theory, something art historical—but I would rather discuss how the process of making a drawing-object creates a space for me that is introspective and reflexive. They are often a source of relief—a catharsis—from the continuous noise of everyday life. Drawing-objects are much quieter than the majority of my daily experience(s) and my previous work. The quietness is calming, and, at times, unsettling…

The turn toward introspective and reflexive work is greatly impacted by our recent collective experiences. It is influenced even more by becoming a parent. More than anything, I want to be fully present for my children, to contribute to a safe, loving, and supportive environment for our family. With the demands of daily life, this is a Sisyphean endeavor. There are ever-expansive hills to ascend, including valleys of the past. Something I did not fully understand until becoming a father, parenting often prompts the thinking and re-thinking of one’s own experiences during childhood and beyond. For me, this involves unpacking significant trauma. While unsettling at times, to fully embrace the most important aspect of my life, being a parent, it is necessary to do the work that is often subjugated and set aside—to routinely focus on mental health and self-care.

This is what these drawing-objects are currently doing for me. Some people run.

Like the philosopher that believed he could comprehend the world by understanding a single spinning top, my plan(s) were illusory. For all its famed heat, the desert can be cold and desolate. Within seconds, a path can be concealed within a storm of dust. But, for those willing and able to weather the extreme, to shake sand from their shoes, an opportunity for a new path is possible amongst the settling dust.

Seven Years in the Desert comes from a place of joy and pain. It bears many scars but also marks my healing. Perhaps that is why I am comfortable writing it in ink. --Chad Scott

Chad Scott is an interdisciplinary artist whose work frequently draws upon his background as a cultural sociologist and art educator. While his work tends to function as social and cultural critique, since becoming a father, he turned the mirror back on himself, committed to creating space for introspective placemaking. Chad is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for Art Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he also serves as an artist-in-residence for the Zeiter Literacy Development Center.

On exhibit at Sahara West Library-the Studio from December 9, 2022 through February 25, 2023

Reception: Thursday- December 15, 2022-from 5-7pm

Monday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Tuesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sunday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM