Gather: Colleen McCubbin Stepanic
January 20 – April 29, 2023
In Gather, Philadelphia-based artist Colleen McCubbin Stepanic has created an exhibition that is teeming with vivid colors and textural surfaces. In these featured works, Stepanic’s creative process is on full view as she seamlessly shifts from two to three-dimensions and utilizes materials in unexpected ways.
A focal point of the exhibition is the large-scale, three-dimensional wall installation titled Peak. The work spans over 25 feet and is composed of over 100 conical forms fashioned from painted canvas strips that are painstakingly sewn into various sized spires. Each component is rich with fragments of color, contrasting stitching and surface information. In 2008, Stepanic began the process of cutting and sewing her paintings into sculptures. The artist states that the “destructive act of cutting through my marks and the regenerative act of creating something entirely new from that process satisfied my need to connect with an eternal, familiar and human form.” When encountering Peak in its totality, the meandering forms protrude from the gallery walls and create an immersive environment for the viewer. In another three-dimensional work titled Fall, the viewer encounters a large mass of hand-fashioned, tentacle-like tubes that originate from atop the gallery wall and cascade down to form a tangle on the floor.
Botanical species such as black-eyed Susan and dogwood, inspire Stepanic’s monumental horizontal paintings that measure over 20 feet. The arrangement of hard-edged cutout forms reveal thin veils of colored paint, while also emphasizing rich areas of negative space. Stepanic states, “The painted works insist on a confusion of spatial orientation, background are on top, foregrounds are underneath.”
The artist creates the large works on unstretched canvas placed flat on the floor and moves back-and-forth across the surface as the paint is applied.
Colleen McCubbin Stepanic received a BFA from the University of Dayton and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art.
Left: COLLEEN MCCUBBIN STEPANIC (American, born 1970). Twist (Black-eyed Susans) (detail), 2021. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Right: COLLEEN MCCUBBIN STEPANIC (American, born 1970). Peak, 2019. Acrylic, oil, ink, canvas, linen and thread. Courtesy of the artist.