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Stephanie Peters: The beauty of the earth in art

Shea Stanfield~ 1/7/2015

ANTHEM – Rachel Carson, environmental activist and author of A Silent Spring, observed, “Those that contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” The dynamic beauty of earth’s diverse environments is the inspiration for artist Stephanie Peters’ paintings, murals, and three-dimensional work.

Stephanie developed deep roots in America’s east coast historical communities and lushly forested landscapes while growing up in Washington D.C./Baltimore area. Her parents were diligent in exposing Stephanie and her sisters to history, culture, and the arts through the Smithsonian museums, attending live theater, and visiting artist demonstrations.  All this formed a rich and diverse foundation for young Stephanie Peters as she turned her attention west to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson.

While attending UofA for a B.A. degree in studio art and art history, Stephanie drew heavily on her childhood environmental inspirations, as well as her art heroes in the American Expressionists and Neo Dadaist movements such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jackson Pollock, and Alexander Calder. Her paintings and drawings took on a new sophistication and excitement. Her quick action lines and inventive use of explosive color allow her images to dance off their surfaces into their surroundings. They thrill their viewers with provocative in content and contemporary messages reflecting Stephanie’s interest in science (climate change) and philosophy (religion and politics). By 2009, Stephanie had completed her degree program and moved out into the world to take her place among environmentally conscious young artists.

Water is one of the themes running through Stephanie’s life and many of her paintings. Her studio is located near the Verde River in Camp Verde. The space offers her an environment of reflection, exploration, and an opportunity to incorporate found objects of the area in her many of her pieces.

Understanding the power of line and the energy it brings to her work, Stephanie’s style is evolving to include more drawing in her painting, both to enhance the whimsical, as well as push forward the thought provoking messages in each piece.  Her goal is to inspire conversation and awareness for our current ecological challenges.  Recently, Stephanie was juried into Verde Valley Land Preservation’s “A River Runs Thru Us” traveling art project that brought awareness to the Verde River from Sedona to Phoenix.  Stephanie’s new series of work, inspired by a recent visit to Maui, Hawaii, addresses how climate change is causing marine life to migrate north creating a new reality for coral reefs and kelp forests of the Pacific.

Stephanie would describe her work as “deliberately abstract traditional. I use bold colors to echo my experience, create the mood.”  She goes on to add that, “Reusing, recycling, and giving life back to something that was discarded is important to me.  This is what inspired the charcoal on book page drawings that were on exhibit at the North Valley Regional Library in Anthem recently.”  Expanding her use of new materials and surfaces keeps Stephanie’s work fresh, exciting, and in a philological way, a record of our contemporary history to be discovered by future generations. 

Collections of Stephanie Peters’ work can be experienced in a number of venues.  She is a dynamo of visual expansion taking her message to the public all over Arizona.  She has new paintings on display at Canyon Café in downtown Phoenix, a collection of work on display at Nello’s Pizza in Scottsdale, and a series of fish paintings on display at White Hills Gallery in Camp Verde.  There are also paintings on display at the Business Assistance Center in Cottonwood.  Stephanie has joined with artists Elizabeth Gerstner and Megan Jonas at RooPho Studio on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, where she will be painting every First Friday in the near future.  A collection of new charcoal drawings on book pages will be part of an exhibit called “Story Tellers” with Zane Gutierrez at Connections Café in Tempe, running through April 8, 2015.

Stephanie Peters has been a guest speaker for Yavapai College’s OLLI Inside Creativity.  Her professional career has included community art activist, installation artist, and environmental art activist. To view more of Stephanie’s work, contact her for a speaking engagement or to commission a piece for your home or office, visit her Web site at www.stephartist.com.  

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.