Stephanie Pierce: Wake

May 28 - June 29, 2014

Pierce’s paintings describe unmade beds, plants and windows combining layers of transparent and opaque paint to produce a shimmering optical description of place. Her paintings seem to be in a state of flux, assembling and disintegrating before the viewer. Working from prolonged observation, Pierce tracks the passage of light through its liminal hours. Traces acculmulate and evolve into images that threaten to lapse into abstraction. Her working process follows a similar rhythm; she explains “it’s a continual looking, responding, destroying, renewing.”

As Pierce paints, her position in relation to her subjects shifts, at times dramatically, so that a window might appear at once close and far away. Like Giacometti, she probes the space between herself and her subjects, activating this distance. Pierce selects subjects that evoke transformation: windows, radios or plants. In looking at her paintings we become complicit in her perceptual process. In “Cosmos,” we are squinting into a garden of rustling orange petals at an obscured image of the painter gazing back at us from a mirror hidden amongst the flowers.

Pierce also runs a DIY art/music project space in Fayettesville, Arkansas called Lalaland with Sam King. Music especially, punk, is an essential part of her artistic make-up. She has stated, I ”continually come back to early punk music as an influence in how I want to think about painting. It’s been inspiration for being so direct, energetic, driven, and human. Music influences my paintings when it’s a kind of beautiful chaos, when it’s dissonant and strange, with moments that verge on the point of breaking down yet hold together, I’m always after something that touches on that kind of moment in my paintings.”

Pierce was born in Memphis, TN and received her MFA from the University of Washington. She currently lives and teaches in Fayetteville, Arkansas.