STEPHANIE PEEK: Last Paradise II
Oil on Panel
30 x 30 in
The genesis of much of Stephanie Peek’s painting comes from the garden of La Pietra in Florence. La Pietra elicited memories of a garden that Peek had known as a child. Revisiting these sites from memory in her studio, she became aware that paintings themselves could be a refuge, as gardens are in real life; they could be a site of meditation. This romantic notion inspired her Dark Arcadia series exhibited at the Berkeley Art Museum and was furthered during her stay as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, where she studied more Renaissance gardens. Into one of these dark paintings, Peek painted a loose rendering of a deep red flower from a still life by 17th century painter Rachel Ruysch. Not only admired for her perseverance and success as a woman artist in the 17th century, Ruysch worked from age 15 to age 83, while at the same time raising her 10 children. Peek is drawn to Ruysch’s free and luscious floral work, rendered in rich colors that glow out from dark backgrounds. In addition to floral borrowings from the Northern European tradition, Peek appropriates flowers, leaves, insects from many different sources; for example, the iconic magnolia from the 19th century American painter Martin Johnson Heade. She also works from direct observation and photography. Peek finds inspiration in the writings of Agnes Martin and Barbara Hepworth for the spiritual dimension brought to their practice. Most of all, Peek’s painter friends have been inspiring by being both encouraging and critical. Stephanie Peek is represented by Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA ; Satellite of.Love, San Francisco, CA; SFMOMA Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Michelle Bello Fine Art Consulting; Sloan Miyasato, San Francisco, CA; Andra Norris Gallery, Burlingame, CA; Argazzi Art, Lakeville, CT; Jason McCoy Gallery, New York, NY; The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA.