Eye on the figure
This story was featured in the February 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art February 2013 print edition, or download the Southwest Art February 2013 issue now…Or just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Ilene Gienger-Stanfield established her reputation in the art world as a pastelist. But these days she also paints regularly in oils, which allows her all the excitement that comes with exploring a new medium. And the artistic adventure has had its rewards. Recently Gienger-Stanfield’s oil painting DISTRACTED won second place in the American Impressionist Society’s annual show, held at Eckert & Ross Fine Art in Indianapolis, IN, and juried by artist Kevin Macpherson. Although she paints landscapes and still lifes on occasion, Gienger-Stanfield says the human figure is the powerful force that inspires most of her artwork. She strives to capture its emotions, gestures, movements, and personalities on canvas.
Gienger-Stanfield earned a fine-arts degree from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, but she also took workshops in the fundamentals of art with pastelist Harley Brown, whom she cites as the biggest influence on her work today. In her newfound medium of oils, she is finding that her work is taking on a more abstract quality. “It’s abstract because I only paint shapes, and representational because when all those shapes come together, it’s a recognizable subject,” Gienger-Stanfield says. Often there may be a narrative thread running through her works or an ambiguous sense of time that allows viewers to bring their own narratives to a piece. A figure may be holding a coin, reading a book, or sitting on a bench sipping a cup of coffee.
As this story was going to press, the artist was preparing works for a solo show opening in April at Cole Gallery in Edmonds, WA. For the show she is turning to her favorite models to pose for her. She describes the influence of the models on her work as huge. “I need positive energy from them so I can enjoy painting that affirmation and pass it on to the viewer,” Gienger-Stanfield says. “With a strong and confident style, I want to easily convey what attracted me to a particular subject.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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