“Are family albums a thing of the past? How do we select mementos of our family life in a digital era?” A new exhibition by a North-East artist explores how we preserve our family memories in a personal and moving collection on display at Seventeen this Summer. Andrew J Douglas reports.
Award winning artist, Stephanie Vandem, is fascinated by how people interact at their most personal level. For many years, Stephanie has focused on capturing people’s feelings through her portrait work.
This new collection of artwork goes a step further, investigating how relationships and emotions can be understood through body language, further emphasised by the absence of facial features.
The artist also investigates the idea of ‘visual abundance’ and of what is ‘precious’ in the digital era.
“Body language is what locks these characters together and reveals the nature of their emotions and intimacy. Today we find ourselves overloaded by repetitive images of ourselves and loved ones. This made me wonder: do these images still hold any power, or does such visual abundance dilute the concept of a precious and unique family album?
“By selecting images that represent landmark moments, I’m testing the ability of a single image to convey the nature and demands of a relationship and the implications of that moment on the future of the family members. “I hope ‘Family Album’ might inspire others to look at ways of curating and preserving their own memories.”
Brazilian by birth and educated in Paris, London, New York and Florence, she brings a variety of influences to her striking work, be that with her portraits or more thematic projects.
Stéphanie’s paintings can be found in several international private collections, and most recently the artist has painted the Bishop of Aberdeen, oil Tycoon Larry Kinch and the daughters of ‘Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey’ TV director Minkie Spiro.
The eleven paintings in ‘Family Album’ are supported by a film documentary made out of videos captured by the artist on her smart phone. This is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse at the creative process as the artist openly takes us through the stages of creating the artwork and opens the door to her family life, exposing how it has shaped, inspired or gotten in the way of completing the work.
The exhibition ‘Family Album’ will take place from 4 June to 4 July at Seventeen, Belmont Street, Aberdeen.
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