Sela Ward


b. 1956

Sela Ward is an artist, actress, author and producer who grew up in Meridian, Mississppi as the oldest of four children.  She double-majored in art and advertising at the University of Alabama.  After college, Ward moved to New York where she was recruited to be a model.  She eventually made the move to Los Angeles to become an actress, being hired to appear opposite Burt Reynolds in 1983’s The Man Who Loved Women only two weeks after arriving in California.  Ward is a Prime Time Emmy and Golden Globe award winner. Tête-a-Tête, opening May 20th at KM Fine Arts, is Ward’s first group art exhibition.  


Artist Statement

Unlike Forrest Gump’s proverbial ‘Box ‘a Chocolates’ - which his mother cautioned could be so unpredictable - the box of colors I was provided at my first formal art lessons in 1969 proved both satisfying and dependable. My teacher saw ‘potential’ in me, took me under her wing, and introduced me to the form of artistic expression that would be both the most enduring and the most satisfying in my life. While the BA I earned in Fine Arts might have predicted a more direct route to my passion for painting, I was destined – and blessed - to travel two, parallel roads in both the visual and performing arts. And I have painted all along the way.

As the young artist intrigued with the vibrancy of the color box, blues and greens were the colors that stood out the most. Calm, reflective, strong, alluring. Better still, when energized with density and dimension – becoming teals, turquoise, or periwinkles – it for me invokes a deep sensation of wholeness – a soul at rest. I like to use color metaphorically as the background which the foreground seeks to attain.

This painting is not about peace attained, but about the quest for it. The central character is archetypal of strength in motion, but not one of rest. It is a full character in search of stillness, while itself bold, serpentine, and in constant motion – a representation of rebirth and redemption. This painting “L'eau de Zen" is one in a series that feature the movement of Zen-like icons against backgrounds of sublime unity and simplicity. It predicts a whole-body response seeking a relaxed state - one that is at peace with itself.

Apropos to the energy and strength of the central character, the dimension of the work is the direct result of being presented with an abundant and challenging medium by a colleague and mentor.  Departing from the canvas-and stapled to the wall of my studio, were two huge pieces of paper, side-by-side. The potential of it was astounding, alluring and profoundly energizing; for if the paintings are a quest for a soul at rest, the force to fill the potential required an energy that took me over and set me to task. Great, long strokes were required, delivered with power - and some pluck. Arm-arching movements and trust in the brush brought me close to the paper - and then sent me stepping way, way back to gain a sense of the tack.

The paper, forgiving but demanding, gives the acrylics room and time to be absorbed, and enriched with pentimento. The paper begs lining, modeling, colored ink and charcoal mapping to enrich, but not overcrowd, the broad, over-painted whites and off-whites that draw the eye through the central character to the background. In the end, I envision the painting engendering a release of energy from the viewer – a release that will give some context to the place we all share – that quest for stillness – while we are still in motion.