Gallery News & Events
13 January through 24 February 2007
Reception: Saturday 13 January 4-7pm
Gretel Stephens practices the art of transformation. Jan Baum Gallery proudly announces the solo exhibition of Gretel Stephens. Existential, stoic, & breathtaking abstractions express the structure of human design. Bones, eggs, stem cells– subjects that in the hands of another artist would cause people to turn away, become at once hypnotic & soothing. Cellular elements are allowed to flow into dialogues across the canvas. With a delicate hand, they speak volumes about the fragility of our beings as humans. Subtle, murky and bold, layers of color force the viewing audience to search for the realities hidden beneath the beauty. Movement, both controlled in the form of grids & crosses expand beyond the ground that lies before you. Breaking out of these restrictive borders, mimicking the very nature of cellular growth & expansion, Stephens paintings bring forth a new reality like an epiphany. Disguising her subjects, drawing in unsuspecting viewers that may otherwise not be ready for the very real content of her images, Stephens masks her biological images with layers of dreamy, cosmic-like transparent washes of paint, reminiscent of the blinding white light of mystic, starry forms of the solar system. Her works share a very real, corporeal & visceral silence. The power & beauty of her work can be enjoyed without the knowledge of the underlying content, but to understand the content can take one on a great journey of self-revelation. Correlations drawn are between the mysteries within us and those of the universe. Like the title of one painting, “Thus Far”, we are left to contemplate & consider where and how human existence will go in the future. Christopher Miles has written of Stephens’ paintings that they are not “particularly about anatomy or accuracy…but rather about getting a sense of what it means to be human”.