Reflection

Where Are They Now?

The Daily Palette often features art from the Graduate Archive to celebrate exemplary work by students who have earned advanced degrees in studio art from the University of Iowa. "Where Are They Now?" gives us the exciting opportunity to catch up with some of these artists, to find out what they have been up to since leaving school and to feature their more contemporary work! Look for links to their previous appearance on The Daily Palette below.


STEPHANIE ROBERTS
Reflection, Oil on panel, 48" x 36", 2016

Prof. Stephanie Roberts earned an MFA in Painting from the University of Iowa in 1997, and has gone on to be an internationally exhibited artist now teaching studio art at the City Colleges of Chicago. She has work in the collection of the Deloitte Corporation and Disney Corporation, and has had commissions featured at ESPN Zone and in the Chicago Sun-Times. Additionally, her work has been published by the Wendover Art Group. She has been a Visiting Artist at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, at Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, as well as Visiting Critic at North Park University, Chicago. Prof. Roberts has an upcoming exhibition at the McLean County Arts Center in Bloomington, Illinois, in March 2017.

In her own words:
I explore the themes of control, surrender, struggle, and destiny in my paintings of divers. By freezing the action of human figures caught tumbling in space, I attempt to address modern man's existential concerns for meaning and order. In much the same way as a diver works with and against gravity in order to achieve artful grace and precision, the figures in my paintings become metaphors for the intersection of the human and the divine. I find that out of this tension, suspended moments of beauty and grace are revealed.

These recent diver paintings continue to explore the dichotomy of free will and destiny. Even in their precise and controlled movements, the divers themselves strain against pervasive natural forces. Despite the engagement of muscle and speed, the figure is always falling through space. This relationship speaks to the assertion of human will in the context of circumstances beyond one's control.

I suspend the motion of the figure in an ambiguous space which more readily allows a metaphoric reading. In some of the compositions, the handling of the paint hints at a substantive presence that fluctuates from receding in the distance to more abstract smudging, textural use of palette knife, and dripping of paint that push against and around the figure. In my manipulation of oil paint, I am heavily influenced by the traditional techniques of Caravaggio and Rembrandt. But I also incorporate a contemporary flavor in color usage, in the play of flat versus deep space, and in the emphasis on the tactile surface of the painting.

Earlier appearance on The Daily Palette

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