stephanie bell may
Academia de San Carlos, 1994, BFA
By: Stephanie Bell May
Through painting, living, and exploring how we experience life I have realized, that I am perpetually attracted and captivated by the balance between contradictions and counter parts. How seemingly polar forces and dualities are interconnected and give rise to each other, define each other, and only exist in relation to one another. In my paintings I explore this paradoxical phenomena by using the sublimely complicated figure of man and woman, and simplifying it to a smooth continuous line. I use what seem like diametrically opposed forces such as light and dark, brilliant and morose colors, glossy and bristly textures, translucent and opaque surfaces, and integrate the lines of the body into an enigmatic harmony and cohesion of colors and textures. Whether the medium be oil on wood, ink on paper, or chili spices and dirt, each piece is a tense dance between the death or the life of each painting. Sometimes I place dark opaque layers that seem to suffocate the life out of it. Then I will rub or unearth the underlying painting to chance upon a heartbeat. If there is a pulse, it’s a miracle worth investigating. With the placement of each layer and or lines, I don’t seek to replace the previous, but rather integrate it to a perfect balance of ambiguity and clarity. It’s an amorphous journey of intuition that takes on a life of it’s own. And although I am the creator, I am not in complete control of the out come. I vie, gamble, and recover with each piece until an inexplicable magic is revealed to me; like an alchemist who has an accidental encounter with magic.