Stephen Fessler

Region: Midwest

This work reflects my interests in "directed perception"-that is, how I see a thing when it has been pointed out to me, or when some aspect of it suddenly captures my attention. I find that seeing is selective. Landscape elements or other objects surrounding or acting as background to the indicated thing are within my visual field, but I do not perceive or recall them. This paradox of vision, that I see and remember only that which has caught my interest, is carried further in the presentation of these images. I delight in painting illusions of space and varying textures on the perfectly flat surfaces of these paintings. The pictures are objects, as emphasized by their non-rectangular shapes, but these are objects that appear to have no thickness, their framework constructed so that the image "floats" a few inches from the wall. They are in this way both insubstantial and solid, just as everything a person sees is an effect of light; physicists tell us that matter consists mostly of vacuum, nothing at all.

I grew up and have spent most of my life among the things I like to paint, in small towns or rural areas in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. I trust that the work expresses my affection for and appreciation of weathered surfaces and utilitarian architecture.