‘Reflections’ by Miriam Stern—More Than Just Flash

5 Dec
Miriam Stern, Mass Moca, 2011. Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.

Explosive and multi-dimensional, Reflections, a new series by Miriam Stern, brings attention to internal and external forms that shine.

Now exhibiting at the Johnsons & Johnsons headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in a building designed by I.M.Pei (the architect of the pyramid in the Louvre), Reflections is a series of paintings, prints, and collages that deal with literal reflective surfaces, and the process of internal introspection.

Beginning with photographs, Stern captures images of contemporary metal sculpture shining in the sunlight. She prints the images and reconstructs them to create new reflective forms of her own on a two-dimensional surface.

Through the artwork that influences Stern’s pieces, an artistic heritage is created. Some of her paintings and collages are influenced from architecture, such as the new building at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in California, designed by Daniel Lebiskind.

Miriam Stern, CJM (Contemporary Jewish Museum), 2011. Monoprint Collage, 22 x 15 in.

Another piece is inspiration from Roxy Paine, whose metalwork looks like shiny tree limbs. These influences are transformed in her work, mixing with her conceptual process, and resulting in pieces that are both full of explosive energy and thick conceptual metaphor.

Miriam Stern, After Roxy, 2010. Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.

The process of accumulation, deconstructing, and reconstructing is recurring in this series. Stern discusses the action of accumulation and how Judaism teaches us what to do with this excess and what we can learn from it. With excess of money or other things, there is the opportunity to give it away in charity, or to use these accumulated memories as a remembrance, ways of keeping the past with us as it is transformed and reflected off the next object in our life.

Miriam Stern, Jerusalem Shuk I, 2010. Monoprint Collage, 22 x 15 in.

More personal examples of inner reflection are shown in her work with symbols that look back at her past as being an artist, and experiences in Israel that influenced her spiritually. These elements of her experience are captured, splintered up in memory, and reconfigured in new situations and compositions.

What is so inherently Jewish about this series is the commentary made on how we respond to our surrounding influences. Do we absorb or reflect? Who influences us and how do we respond? How do we translate that given to us in a way that brings us closer to our own path and identity? Creating a “remembrance” is a part of our tradition that is most realistically expressed in a conceptual abstraction such as this.

Reflections will be up at Johnson & Johnson through January 12th, 2012 by appointment only. For more information contact Heather Cammarata-Seale 732-524-2589

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