Artist Statement: Stephanie Visser
My work is a reflection of something I have been looking for all of my life…home. The Spanish word “Querencia” describes it most fully. It means a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home Home. There are so many aspects to that word. Is it the place we were born? Is it the place our parents reside, or the place where we reside? Or is it, quite possibly, a space known only within us? The people, places and things that reveal themselves in this body of work, are nonspecific and yet perhaps are recognizable as someone or something known or remembered, or almost but not quite remembered. That name or that word you struggle for on the tip of the tongue. Memories and impressions of current places and places from the past, reminiscent of the shore, the city street, the wooded hillside, the neighborhood, the highway. Exploring tone, pattern, light, space and color, those memories and impressions trigger form. A pictorial representation that is deeply intimate and suggestive, where the tug of sensations that comfort, or pinch, stirs up emotion and memory. In today’s society, people move around. They move for work, challenge, diversity, opportunity and a myriad of other reasons. Losing a sense of home is common. These paintings are about change and transition and therefore the conflicts that arise between the excitement, desire and lure for the new, novel, and untraveled, and the yearning and thirst for the comfort of the known, familiar and habitual. When we’re home, we wish we were somewhere else and when we’re somewhere else, we wish we were home. So the only place that we are entirely happy is when we are between where we’ve been, where we are, and possibly where we’re going. A romantic imagined place within us, not a real physical location. I am not making a social statement about our mobile society; I am making a human statement about our collective loss.
For me, painting is a physical act that connects the outer world to the unconscious in an immediate way. It is an opportunity to check in with myself and see where I am. By settling body and mind and with clear intention, I pick up the brush. I connect to sensation and feeling by painting from the inside out through movement, energy and intuition. There is no guide but the moment in time, my moment in time, and a pleasure that whispers, this here, that there, try this, do that. Through my observations and an intuition that imparts knowledge beyond learning, space is restructured, recomposed and simplified. Perceptions of light are rendered by deliberation of hand, movement, brush stroke, and intent. Informed by those who came and went before; Hensche, Hoffman, Diebenkorn. The end result...an amalgam of reason and feeling, reflection and accident.
The pieces themselves are created in acrylic on multiple surfaces. I begin by laying down a gesture, which leads to color, shape, and form until I recognize something in it that moves me, like a Rorschach inkblot but with more subtlety. I prefer the water mediums because of their immediacy. I work quickly before the moment is past, layering and building up surfaces and textures. The manner that these pieces are created allows me to bring that emotional, intuitive and spiritual home to something real and physical set in time and space. They are mind photographs that reflect everyday life and the way it impacts me: sunlight and shadows: stillness and movement: sound and quiet. I am the perpetual voyeur. Standing back, observing, imagining in some way what goes on behind the surface, the color of the life lived sometimes in quiet desperation, sometimes inexplicably ordinary but more often mysteriously beautiful no matter how humble.