Scott McNeill, “Art in Multidimensions,” AZ Republic 2000





Artwork in Multidimensions

The Arizona Republic,

Dec 9, 2000

by Kristen Koch

Multiple dimensional is how West Valley artist Scott McNeill describes his carvings. This is seen up close by his intricate shaping of basswood and from afar by concentrating on his method of painting a different image over the smaller carved detail.

The concept of superimposing McNeill, 31, said, started after he spent hours carving a piece and just as much time painting it. "I felt like I was doing two pieces at once, but it was really one," said

McNeill, who has been carving for six years.

McNeill enjoys being able to capture more than one perspective.

"I can show what he thinks and she thinks in the same picture," said McNeill, who in late 1996 started toying with the multiple dimension concepts. One of his pieces, "Aqua Boogie", has a painting of a fish on top of a carving of an underwater scene. But McNeill's work goes deeper than a school of fish and bright colors. "I think there is something happening that we can't see," said McNeill, an avid scuba diver. "That is what I get into."

His latest piece, which took him more than four months to complete,uses a variety of perspectives."It's four different points of view within the same room as seen by different observers---a rhinoceros, a little girl, a lion and a couple," McNeill said of his untitled piece, which will be on display at the West Valley Art Museum, 17420 N. Avenue of the Arts, by Jan. 1. "In the larger picture, I repeated and enlarged some of the same objects to unify the different perspectives, which takes into account a moment in time that is bigger than any one of the four points of view."

Such ideas like this, according to McNeill, are generated by things that interest him and cause him to think. Sometimes he doesn't know where he gets his ideas. Other times, there's no doubt.

Twenty-five feet from his backyard in Litchfield Park lives a rhinoceros.

It's part of Wildlife World Zoo. Another inspiration is the zoo's lion that roars him awake nearly every night. McNeill was featured this fall as the artist-in-residence at the West Valley Art Museum. Next summer, he expects to be back at the museum to work on another project.

"His art is perfect for the new century before us with its new discoveries in physics," said Jessie Benton Evans, public relations director of the museum. "He has a bold use of composition, a natural design sense and a heightened sense of color. "A master of both sculpture and painting, he combines them into a new art form."

Nine years ago, McNeill's path wasn't leading him toward the art he does today. He graduated from Clemson University in South Carolina in '91 with a business degree. But business was where his heart was. So one year after graduation he joined the Peace Corps. He worked in Honduras for two years with the Peace Corps and spent time as a

consultant for the National Association of Honduran Artists. He served as an apprentice to one of the country's most renowned woodcarving masters, David Sanchez.

McNeill stayed in Honduras until l996, when he moved to Arizona, where his parents live. "Things happen when they are ready to happen, and that's the way it was," McNeill said of his experience in Honduras. "If I hadn't been around the wood carvers then, I wouldn't be the wood carver I am today."

McNeill believes art to be an "inner vision and dedication," and his new technique has inspired him. "I am real excited about this style, because I can express multiple ideas and present them in one space," he said. "I am very optimistic about this multiple dimensional expression. That is why I am doing it, because I feel motivated. I feel like I am going to be able to unlock some things I don't even know about yet."

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