Iowa Artists 2011: Stephanie Brunia

JUNE 3 – AUGUST 7, 2011

Stephanie Brunia (b. 1984, Ames, IA), creates brooding and enigmatic images that at first recall the surreal cinematic style of director David Lynch or the staged tableaus of artist Gregory Crewdson. However, Brunia’s work reaches further back into art historical styles that pre-date any comparisons to contemporary references. In Untitled (Ophelia), 2008, for example, Brunia stages the Shakespearian character who meets her fate at the bottom of a brook, while in another work she arranges her figures like Michelangelo’s Pieta, the famous depiction of the body of Christ in his mother’s arms. In Brunia’s work, all of her characters, mostly female, are stylistically as well as symbolically stripped down to simple white tank tops and shorts and always appear in a dramatic, vespertine setting. Technically, her compositions achieve a profound emotional depth and elegance that belies their economy of means. All of Brunia’s work is photographed in Ames, using non-professional models and what she calls “hand applied light.” This system of lighting consists of her using long exposure photography, moving around her subjects and other areas of the scene with a basic flashlight to expose only the areas she wants to highlight. This highly effective system enables her to achieve her dramatic, light dappled images.

Stephanie Brunia was selected by Gilbert Vicario, senior curator.

Gallery Guide

Funding for Iowa Artists 2011 is provided by the Peter H. & E. Lucille Gaass Kuyper Foundation; Faegre & Benson LLP; Bank of the West; and KPMG LLP.
Publication support provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.
Media support provided by The Des Moines Register.


Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation

Iowa Artists 2011: Matt Corones

Iowa Artists 2011: Matthew Kluber

Untitled, (detail) 2008
Archival inkjet print, 10 x 30 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Above right:
Untitled (Ophelia), (detail) 2008
Archival inkjet print, 10 x 30 inches
Courtesy of the artist

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