Reflections on Change / by Rebecca Stern

2018 has been a difficult year thus far.

Losing my father turned my world upside down and backwards and affected me in ways I never would have imagined. I now think about death and life much more than I ever did before. This major life change altered my work in the studio.

January 22, 2018

January 22, 2018

I spent most of January dragging myself to the studio every day and making work that truly felt like someone else made it. Odd shapes, colors that weren’t mine, everything felt foreign. My normal reaction to this would be frustration and self-doubt.  Instead of fighting this new territory, I decided to ride the wave.


After many destroyed canvases, and paintings on paper that got torn up to repurpose into collages, my work and the world started to make sense to me again. It was a slow transition to this point, but once I got there it was pure bliss. A feeling in which nothing else mattered except my present interaction with the materials and the confidence that whatever I did was the right thing. And if it didn’t turn into a masterpiece, it was okay because it was an experience to create it. And that experience, would inform the next piece I made and so on in a never ending cycle of influence.


This new work was pouring out of me, like I couldn’t put paint to canvas fast enough.

Through creating, through thinking, through feeling, through attention and presence it became clear to me what brings me back to the studio. This experience pushed me to write a new artist statement, a task which I dislike greatly but as with my painting, this time it flowed.

"I externalize my internal monologue into a visual narrative. In the studio, I am in control. Regardless of what else might be going on in my life or the world,  I paint, collage, stitch, and construct materials. My aim is to understand the relationship between my existence and the events that take place around me. I create a “mental landscape” to explore themes of intrinsic motivation, control, chance, change, and balance.  Gestural marks produce a visual depiction of thought patterns illustrated through repetition, texture, juxtaposition, color and negative space. Manipulating materials in my studio assists me in mitigating the fact that I can’t control what goes on in the day to day. I’m on a journey towards accepting what is.   It is this fact that brings me back to the studio again and again."


"Where I Was Standing" - Acrylic, ink, stitching and paper on paper - 2018

"Where I Was Standing" - Acrylic, ink, stitching and paper on paper - 2018

See more from the new series title Remnant, here.