Carson City artist interview: Reid visits with Stiff

Stephen Reid and Rachel Stiff hosted a CCAI Nevada Neighbors Talk recently.

Stephen Reid and Rachel Stiff hosted a CCAI Nevada Neighbors Talk recently.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF
The Capital City Art Initiative’s Nevada Neighbors series of public talks includes interviews with artists in their studios or in a gallery setting.
CCAI presents Stephen Reid with artist Rachel Stiff discussing her work in the Courthouse Gallery with her exhibition, Entitled to the Sun. Viewers are invited to watch the talk online at
Stephen Reid is a visual artist whose work has been shown nationally and in Japan. His paintings reside in the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College as well as several private collections. He earned a MFA in 2006 from the University of Massachusetts and a BFA in 2001 from the Virginia Commonwealth University.
He has taught as an adjunct instructor at Keene College in Keene, New Hampshire, and at Western Nevada College. Reid has been the Artist Services Specialist with the Nevada Arts Council since 2017 where he manages the exhibition installations for the agency’s visual arts programs: the Nevada Touring Initiative-Traveling Exhibition and LXS-Legislative exhibition Series. He lives in Dayton with his family.
Rachel Stiff paints abstractions inspired by western landscapes.
“Space is what interests me most. The West has a lot to offer. From the outskirts of town, one can examine the composition of a city and its relationship with surrounding landforms,” Stiff said. “There are endless variations of color and light, depending on exact location and time of day. Through painting, I frame the modern West; exit ramps serve sunsets to go and mysterious bluffs quietly exhibit the beauty of perspective from the grocery store parking lot. Working intuitively at first, I allow each painting or drawing to develop. The partnership between the work and myself progresses, as does the importance of decision-making. Mistakes, deliberate forms, controlled spills, and the culling of positive and negative space are the end result. My journey to western Nevada has taken me through the greater Western states. At all these outposts, I’ve found each location’s individual sense of place, space, color palette, and topographical textures.”
During her artist’s residency with RAID Projects in downtown Los Angeles, Stiff made a body of paintings focused on the intersection of Southern California’s dense development and the stark silence of the desert beyond.
Now in her Nevada garage studio, she makes work about the surrounding landscapes and construct atmospheres on canvas and on paper. Identifying as a true westerner, her work examines the construction of the modern landscape and desert-urban interface through abstraction.
Stiff is a painter and art educator based in Carson City at Western Nevada College. Stiff holds an MFA from the University of Arizona in Tucson (2012) and a BFA from the University of Montana in Missoula (2009). Her work has been shown throughout the West and acquired by the Emmy award winning studio, Traktor Films of Santa Monica, Calif. In 2013, Stiff was selected by RAID Projects for a three-month artist residency in downtown Los Angeles. After living and working in the city intermittently for two years, she moved to Nevada to work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, her work can be found in the permanent collection at the Marjorie Barrick Museum. The Nevada Museum of Art featured her work in its 2016 statewide survey, Tilting the Basin; the exhibition was shown in Reno and in Las Vegas. Stiff lives in Carson City and is now fulfilling her third year at WNC.
For information, visit CCAI’s website at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment