Stephanie Shank is an abstract expressionist painter who exhibits with galleries throughout the U.S.A. Exposed to the world of painting while a young girl, she watched in fascination as her mother, an oil painter who studied with Max Beckman and Philip Guston, expressively applied vivid hues and bold brushstrokes to the canvas. From those closely observed sessions, the intense passion to paint took hold of her.
Born in the Midwest, she studied painting at Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri and the University of Missouri in Kansas City where she received her B.F.A. in 1976. The following decade, she applied her creative talents practically through commercial art and window display design for department stores. Those years were also punctuated with independent studies with influential mentors and workshops. She relocated to the desert Southwest in 1987 where the stunningly clear light of her Arizona environs illuminates and informs the brilliant hues of her expressionistic paintings. Working in mixed media, largely acrylic, oil sticks, and charcoal, her artistic vision arrives at an imaginary and purely balanced world with every canvas. Her paintings have been featured in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the country and are included in many noted private and corporate collections. She is indebted to the Abstract Expressionist action painters, particularly Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline.
From the Artist:
"My paintings are very accessible on a purely aesthetic level, but they touch on deeper issues if you allow yourself some time to absorb the imagery. My vision ranges from the literal to the conceptual, from abstract landscape paintings to figurative expressionism. I typically don't represent any of the elements of nature faithfully. The images are meant to touch the subconscious mind of the viewer, evoking a primal feeling and capturing a universal visual language. By painting with a spontaneous, gestural expression, my work informs a dynamic impression of raw emotion and the power of now.
Clearly, we are not born psychologically integrated, but become so through effort and growth. Our shadow side and our light side must learn to coexist. A certain consciousness of the split is part of being human. For me, this consciousness and process has been the life force of my expressionist aesthetic. My intent is to sustain an authentic vision and identity; my desire is to continue to create paintings that emotionally charge one out of normal habits of seeing. Color will always evoke a realm of feeling and memory for me. Through the language of color, non-referential mark-making, and gestural paint handling, my abstract expressionist paintings represent a culmination of an emotional experience relating to a balance between lightness and darkness, agitation and bliss. There is always some evidence of what came before, always uncertainty and inevitable change. In essence, the paintings are constructed as organically and irrationally as life itself."