Every Tuesday afternoon, we are showcasing an individual artist recognized for his or her unique voice, ideas and process. Once a month, a featured artist will be selected by Rebecca Locke, a New York City-based artist and curator, who develops collaborative and artist-led projects.
Our universal human need for home, for safety, weaves through Brooklyn-based Stephanie Imbeau’s large-scale installations and intimately-scaled sculptures.
Shelter, a large-scale installation commissioned by the British TV network Channel Four, exemplifies her practice. Five stories high, the work filled an entire courtyard in Central London, took two months to assemble off-site, then three days to install. Made completely from found, broken, or discarded umbrellas, she gave these useless objects a new lease of life. Despite their condition, damaged and busted, the umbrellas were strengthened and re-purposed, becoming part of this new, dynamic work of art. Lit from within at night and vivid in color, it was a work that could not be ignored, a temporary landmark, and an addition to London’s cityscape.
The recent series cover/uncover likewise toys with ideas of strength and vulnerability. The ‘shelters’ in this instance are ceramic houses, small tabletop sculptures symbolizing home, created from carefully draped forms; these shapes, whilst solid, look as though they are made from soft blankets, delicate and comforting. Through this contrast, the artist explores vulnerability, and our need for shelter and home.
Imbeau’s work is currently featured in the group exhibition Homeland [IN]Security: Vanishing Dreams at Dorsky Gallery, through November 16, in Long Island City, Queens.
Artist Bio: Stephanie Imbeau’s work articulates her interest in the search for community, shelter and home by exploring the familiar imagery of houses, umbrellas and boats using materials relating to shelter and domesticity. Working in Brooklyn, NY, Stephanie exhibits internationally. In 2007 she earned her Master of Fine Arts from Newcastle University, UK.
Artist Statement: Working in various media such as installation, sculpture and drawing, Imbeau’s practice explores community, isolation and built environments that contextualize every-day experience, often celebrating overlooked items or materials, both domestic and industrial. By using domestic materials the artist points to the importance of beauty and the significance of daily life. Much of her work consists of large composites of smaller parts, as a metaphorical reference to individuals within a larger community. Using imagery such as houses, roofs, boats, and other protective structures, she engages ideas of comfort and shelter, emphasizing the fragility of our individual state and our need for support, both physical and emotional. An approach which is both playful and explorative creates a balance of seriousness and levity, through art that is equally contemplative and celebratory. Maintaining a degree of lightheartedness and viewing the world with a sense of child-like wonder, her work affords a respite from the stresses and anxieties of life.