Gallery One

Mariam Stephan

In the arches, we cave
February 15 – April 6, 2019

First Fridays, 6 – 10pm 
March 8 + April 5

View Exhibition Brochure

Exhibition sponsored by Fenwick Foundation 

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Mariam Stephan, Four Slings

Mariam Stephan’s monochromatic paintings, drawings and digital projections investigate the enormity of external forces in contrast to smaller, internal, and more fragile ones. The title of the exhibition comes from poet, Julia Johnson and captures Stephan’s interest in exploring the immense physical and psychological impact of moments and spaces of transition.

Stephan describes her work “as meditations on loss, and testimonials to places and states that are disappearing or no longer exist.” The fragmented landscape serves as a metaphor for the human condition and allows Stephan to apply a universal lens to her own experience. While her visual language is rooted in physical space, the underlying narrative explores the psychological upheaval related to her own multi-cultural identity.

Stephan draws inspiration from the great humanist artists, Francisco Goya and Käthe Kollwitz. The stylistic connection is clear in her strong use of line, broken forms, and dark monochrome palette, yet she avoids the inclusion of human figures or direct narratives. In the monumental painting, Pulse, Stephan presents the viewer with an image that is at once familiar and incomprehensible. The composition employs conventional landscape tropes, yet various elements disrupt the viewers’ ability to comfortably enter the space. Undulating lines in the right foreground suggest both a pastoral field and moving waters. Water is a symbolic feature in much of Stephan’s work and functions as a way for her to destabilize the ground and imply a constant state of fluctuation. Additionally, the broken structural forms in the left foreground indicates a human presence that has been disrupted. Stephan has created a powerful body of work that is both deeply personal and universally accessible.

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Mariam Stephan, Wrestling a Net

Mariam Stephan has been an exhibiting artist for thirteen years. She has shown her paintings and drawings internationally, including at the Painting Center, NYC; The Weatherspoon Art Museum, NC; The Mobile Museum of Art, AL; The Cervini-Haas Gallery, AZ; Davidson Galleries, WA; and the Gezira Art Center in Cairo, Egypt. She has worked as an Artist in Residence at Ox-Bow, held a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, DRAW International in France, and received a Fulbright Scholars Award to Egypt in 2010-11 in affiliation with the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for her project: Painting Bridging Time, the Egyptian Fayum Mummy Portraits. Stephan earned her MFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002, and her BFA in Painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995, with a semester abroad at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. She currently makes her home in Greensboro, NC, serving as Associate Professor in Painting at UNCG.

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Mariam Stephan, In Limbo