Nature as Muse, God, and Nourishment: A Conversation with Seattle artist Stephanie Hargrave
The multitude and variations of bodies found in nature have always inspired and informed artist Stephanie Hargrave’s work. But for this artist, body and nature is a spiritual point of reference.
This article is translated into Spanish, French, Swahili, Arabic, and Chinese. We used a machine language learning program so there may be some errors in the translations.
For some people, the body is a temple to be adorned and revered, while for others it’s a wild beast to be tamed and controlled. But for Seattle-based visual artist Stephanie Hargrave, the body is a spiritual point of reference she returns to each time she puts brush to canvas or needle to clay.
“I don't participate in organized religion at all,” said Hargrave, who is a painter and sculptor. “It's just not part of my life and never has been. I think science is my focus as opposed to religiosity. In other words, I believe in art and science. It's the combination of those two things.”
When I first met Stephanie Hargrave in 2021, she was gallery sitting at Juan Alonso Studio in Pioneer Square, Seattle. She was bubbly, open, and completely engaging. Her encaustic paintings, which hung on the studio’s main walls, were compelling large-scale affairs that commanded closer observation. She and a small group of artists were gathered around a couch and a coffee table as they chatted about art and life. I joined them, and we talked well into the late evening. At the time, Hargrave was living in New York and was considering a return to Seattle. She wanted to know what the Seattle art scene was like, especially since the pandemic, and she was looking to connect to other artists and art lovers in the community. We exchanged business cards, but we wouldn’t talk again until her most recent shows at Soda Arts by LEICHT SEATTLE and Juan Alonso Studio where she’s exhibiting some of her gravity defying stone sculptures and her encaustic paintings. But what I found just as interesting as her work is Hargrave’s deep introspection about why and how she does what she does, and her understanding of own belief system in which her work is rooted. During our telephone interview she dug deeper into her spiritual connection to art and science.
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