The Art and Picture Collections at Mid-Manhattan Library present Urban Arcadia: Landscapes of New York and Berlin a site-specific exhibition of paintings by artist Stephanie Hightower. Urban Arcadia examines the “nature” of the city as an urban field. The series began with importing photographic sites of New York and Berlin into the studio as points of departure for new drawings and paintings. Taking the pedestrian pursuit of nature, acknowledging the missing meadows long gone, but not so much missed, the concentration on urban fields was a way to paint portraits of a city and culture that refuses to be seated. Since New York especially is forever under construction, one gains an endless tableau of in-between spaces. Nature born by urban construction becomes the ready-mades for geometric abstraction. Arcadia is minimalist, modern and flat, with a non-organic palette covering canals, elevated trains, plastic sheeting, and basins.
Artist and moderator Cyriaco Lopes, and gardener and landscape planner Dr. Dorothea Hokema join Stephanie Hightower for An Artist Dialogue series event, on Saturday June 7 at 2:30 p.m. inside the Corner Room.
For the past twenty-five years my art practice has been painting and drawing as a process of perception and distillation, asserting itself on a physical, comprehensible plane. I’ve always skated between pictorial representation and abstraction. Forms and ideas are retrieved and reformed, to make a visually built experience. Using historical genres, my work refers to a sense of place and moment, discovering contemporary uses for still life, portrait and landscape. I work with layers of meaning that comes from various parts: pieces of figures, objects, spaces, textures and the drama of color. How and where these forms meet or remain separate, confer intimacy, conflict, or indifference, represents my cultural critique and context for making art.
Stephanie Hightower is a visual artist and professor of painting and drawing. Hightower is the recent recipient of a research/lecture fellowship, entitled What is a Meadow – Landscapes of New York, with City University of New York hosted by Technische Universitaet of Berlin. Other awards include grants and residencies with The Bronx Council for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony, and the Excellence in Education Honoree for NURTUREart. Hightower’s work was selected for exhibitions at the Andrea and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery at John Jay College, The Cooper Union, the Bronx Museum, Fordham University, Monroe College in Rochester, and University of Connecticut among others. She serves as director and faculty member for the School of Art Pre-college Program at The Cooper Union, and as Associate Professor of Art at John Jay College. Hightower teaches painting, drawing, visual thinking, and contemporary art issues. Hightower has delivered lectures for Learning through the Arts at the Guggenheim Museum, as curator for numerous national arts competitions and graduate student exhibitions, and was commissioned as a muralist for BrooklynPublic Schools through the Rotunda Gallery. Hightower was awarded the Potowatomi Tribal Scholarship for graduate study. She holds degrees from Pratt Institute and the University of Dallas. She is represented by Cheryl McGinnis Gallery in New York.