home | paintings | archive | bio | artist statement | installation shots | contact

Steph Roberts

Chicago artist Steph Roberts explores contemporary approaches to portraiture and the figure. Embracing abstract composition and paint handling, Roberts tightly crops her portrait subjects, removing extraneous details, and making the actual painting process both the context of the work and the environment that the subject exists within. Spontaneously painted and loosely rendered, Roberts none-the-less captures a sense of realism and establishes naturalistic proportions in her work, somehow achieving an accurate likeness full of life and personality while allowing the paint to assert itself in the process.

Roberts also explores the figure through her "diver paintings" series. These works depict divers in mid-dive, exploring the relationships between the dichotomies of free will and destiny. By freezing the action of human figures caught tumbling in space, she addresses modern man's existential concerns for meaning and control.The figures themselves in their precise and controlled movements struggle against the pervasive natural forces. Despite the engagement of muscle and speed, the figure is always falling through space, which speaks to the assertion of human will in the context of circumstances beyond one's control. In much the same way as a diver works with and against gravity in order to achieve an artful sense of grace and precision, Roberts' figures become metaphors for the concentrated assertion of human will through suspended moments of beauty and grace.

Dairy Freeze, oil on panel, 36x38

Mom, oil on panel, 36x36

Remembering, oil on panel, 40x30

Eyas, oil on panel, 40x30

Power of Flight, oil on panel, 40x30

Self Portrait with Son, oil on transparent acrylic panel, 36x30

Self Portrait in Black, oil on paper, 20x16

Self Portrait in White, oil on paper, 20x16

Visitation Self Portrait, oil on paper, 29x21

Little Blue Bird, oil on paper, 20x16

Green Self Portrait, oil on paper, 20x16

Golden Hour, oil on paper, 16x12

Screened, oil and acrylic on vellum, 10x10


The Pull of Water, oil on panel, 43x36

Le Lis Lyrique, oil on panel, 48x36

Red Divers, oil on panel, 32x36

Jacknife, oil on panel, 40x30

Yellow Divers, oil on panel, 40x30

Rarete, oil on panel, 48x36

Orchid, oil on panel, 16x16

Silhouette, oil on panel, 16x16