Obstacles are part of everyone's life. They have a tendency, if not dealt with, to become so huge and overbearing that they transform into phobias, only to be avoided. This work is about overcoming personal obstacles. We all have areas in our lives that need work but avoid taking a real good look at them. I use old family letters or text under the wax that reference the past or the inner doubts that we all carry around. These are issues we need to learn from and let go of in order to grow as individuals.
The physical properties of the encaustic skins became metaphoric for expressing what needs to be looked at in a different way. Layers of wax are fused to each subsequent layer. They cover up the past. Released, removed, manipulated, flipped over, refused, all of these actions give me a sense of freedom, and the ability to step outside myself. Seemingly destructive to the surface, the peeling plays a positive roll in removing a build up and seeing what has been lying dormant. The depth created working this way is jarring to me, confrontational, alluring and frightening. There is risk involved, but the presence of this relief work conveys a sense of resilience and life which keeps me returning. It speaks with a boldness and beauty which is also fragile. This opposition between image/content and material is the catalyst for the development of my encaustic relief series. This work continues to evolve as I find new ways to shed light on subjects that need to be confronted.
Stephanie Roberts-Camello earned a BFA in painting form Rhode Island School of Design in 1985. She is represented by The Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown . She was awarded a residency at The Vermont Studio Center in 2016 and 1997. Her Painting "The Breakaway" won the Centerfold in the March/April 2016 issue of Artscope magazine. Her work is featured in the 2015/2016 winter issue of The Surface Design Journal in an article called "Memory, Spirit, and Gender: Existential Themes in Fiber and Wax" written by Joanne Mattera. In 2016 and 2013 she was awarded scholarships to attend the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Ma. She has shown extensively in the Northeast, winning many awards in juried shows. Her paintings are in the collection of Meditech and Minz Levin, as well as many private collections.
Journeying into the unknown conjures up a host of dark and nebulous images. How will the voyage take place and where will it take me?
The gestation period for Tell Tale began during a busy time but continued to grow and haunt me. As ideas flowed in, I took notes. Many of the phrases had to do with dark emotions and doubts. We all go through periods like this, and I wanted to channel it like a guide.
Emotions, ever changing, are often associated with water. As the idea evolved, I decided to embark on the creation of a book that would address navigating through doubts and darkness. Book making must be thoroughly thought out beforehand as it is a very time consuming endeavor. Many practical considerations must be addressed. I wrote it so one must read through the top line all the way to the end and continue in the same way on the next line to fully engage the reader and initiate the search. The text terrain is comprised of maps and water ways to illuminate the path. The cover is dark and watery with a compass and a gold ribbon tie to bind the book. The book's edge is titled in Braille to further anchor the idea that other senses are needed to navigate through these doubts.
My husband came by one day to see my progression , and when he saw the gold ribbon that I was using for the book he said "Is that a tell tale?" Now I know nothing about sailing but according to him, in sailing there is a tell tale that never lies. It will always head you in the right direction. He tied up the loose ends for me!
June, 2015 ( 2015-13 Paintings)
For centuries the chattering of magpies was said to foreshadow the arrival of guests. Two or more magpies prophesied a happy occasion, one magpie meant sorrow.
My fascination with symbolism has followed me throughout my painting. I used symbolism during much of the 90's, but it became spottier in the 21st century with my love of abstraction.
This winter, gnawed on my mind the idea of making a handmade book about navigating through doubts, so I began gluing maps on a large sheet of paper with the intention of cutting them up to create a one-piece, intricate folding book. Before cutting, I realized that I didn't think through the whole construction process and it would not work the way I wanted it to, so it hung on the wall for a week or so.
With the questioning and phrases of doubt I had already painted onto this sheet of paper, I started to work it with some drawing and washes. The building of a kind of invisible wall started to emerge, but I felt like it needed something. An image of a bird in flight came to mind, so I searched my resources and found a magpie in the correct direction that would work for me. During my mock up drawing I decided to see if there was other symbolism at play. I found a very interesting passage in one of my books that mentions a text from the 5th Century that says a husband and wife would break a mirror in two pieces when they were to be separated for a while; if either was unfaithful, the adulterous partner's half of the mirror was transformed into a magpie which flew to the other partner with news of the deed! For this reason magpies are often etched into bronze mirrors and given as wedding gifts to symbolize marital bliss.
Synchronicity was at play as multiple people were posting things about magpies on FB! I also learned that a mating pair sings in duet.
With humor and wit I tethered the magpie and called it "The Messenger". I don't usually write a story to go with my painting, but I thought this one would bring it alive on many levels.
May 29,2015 ( 2015-13 Paintings)