Stephanie Kerley Schwartz

Monhegan Paintings 2020

Whether creating a naturalistic or an abstract world, the goal is to give the viewer permission to completely surrender and immerse themselves into the imagery – to provide a sense of wonder, passing on the resonating experience of place and time.

About Stephanie

Stephanie Kerley Schwartz is a Los Angeles based Set and Costume designer for live performance, installation artist and painter. Her design work has been seen on stages all across Southern California as well as Portland, Oregon and Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. In 2018 she received the LADCC Kinetic Award for Distinguished Achievement in Theatrical Design. She is also the recipient of many other multiple awards and nominations, including Ovation, LADCC, LA Weekly, NAACP, Stage Raw, Garland Awards among others. She has taught scene design at UC Irvine. As a writer she has published several short stories online and in print, and has read her work for audiences at Rant and Rave, Skylight Books and Beyond Baroque. She has the privilege of being a Huntington Library Scholar where she has handled the papers of Jack London as research for her play, Burning Daylight. Currently a board member, Resident Designer and a founding member on the Artistic Board of Rogue Machine Theatre. She served as the Facilities Trustee on the Board of Kehillat Israel overseeing major renovations of the synagogue building. She is a graduate of State University of New York College at Purchase, and a member of United Scenic Artists. Her artwork has been shown in past years as part of the Culver City Artwalk.
Born in Tulsa Oklahoma, raised in Kansas and upstate NY, her theatre career began in New York City, and she has worked extensively on location in Vermont, Maine, the Pacific Northwest, and with regular travels to New Mexico and New Orleans.

“The pandemic brought my work as a Scenic designer for the theatre to a screeching halt. Six months of design work evaporated within two weeks. After the shock, I turned to my studio and began a period of making meditative pandemic drawings and cleaning up the space. The realization came that now is the time to explore projects that have been waiting for their chance.

The Monhegan paintings illustrate my intimate relationship to a very specific place. In this time of unsettled politics, with the invisible enemy of the virus, and a very necessary reckoning of social upheaval, I turned inward to my personal experience of nature and environment.

For over 30 years I have visited a very small island off the coast of Maine. Ten miles out to sea, Monhegan is a microcosm of cliffs and woods and history populated by an especially resilient people. As a way of being ‘on island’ without actually being able to travel there, these paintings illustrate a lifetime of collected experiences, images, and photographs. This work is an intimate portrait of a particular place and evolved into a quilt of imagery. No single painting is intended to stand alone. I’ve always worked in series, making paper quilts or cutting up drawings and reassembling them, forming a patchwork vision towards a more faceted understanding of whatever I’m exploring. These images are intentionally small to force the viewer to lean in and look close. The images are intended to meet up with each other in change-able groupings, juxtaposing the experience of a being in a place, the way we experience the world. Memory of details and views, zooming in close and pulling out wide.”

– Stephanie Kerley Schwartz

On display for one week beginning 1.29.21
Helms Design Center at 8745 Washington Boulevard 

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All artwork is copyrighted work of the artist. All rights reserved. Images not to be used without permission.