Exhibitions: Stacy Phillips and Michael Steirnagle at Coda Gallery on El Paseo in Palm Desert
Please join us FRIDAY, MARCH 1 -22 from 5 – 8 PM
MARCH 1 – 22
OPENING RECEPTION:MARCH 1, 5-8 PM
CODA Gallery presents a new exhibition of oil paintings by Michael Steirnagle, running March 1-22. An opening reception, attended by the Indian Wells artist, will be held 5-8 p.m. on March 1 in conjunction with El Paseo Art Walk/Palm Desert First Weekend.
When he worked as an advertising art director in the ’70s, Michael Steirnagle also began his own graphic design studio, from which he launched an 18-year career as a freelance illustrator. “I designed a lot of fairly realistic album covers and book jackets,” he says. When he transitioned to fine art, representatives that he had across the country as a commercial illustrator provided him with commission work for clients such as Chicago’s Lyric Opera, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum; American Airlines; and a Baltimore Orioles gallery. He also created baseball and hockey cards for Upper Deck.
Continuing the fine arts path, he studied how Bay Area Figurative Movement artists (Richard Diebenkorn being his favorite) bridged the gap between realism and abstraction. “I wanted to paint people, but to be more expressive in my work,” he says. Calling himself “a narrative painter” and working strictly in oils, Michael has mainly gravitated toward beach scenes and cafés or bars for settings.
“I look for anything that’s going to give me a lot of shapes to play with; because the more shapes you have to play with, the more abstract you can push your work,” he says. “The less realistic the figures become, the more playful the painting can be, which really is my goal.”
Though he paints men, most of his subjects are women — often in flowing summer dresses. “The fluidity of dresses offers a lot of motion and expressive painting, and they allow me to invent designs,” he says of the patterned “fabrics.”
Among new works in the March exhibition is Sirens: a 30-by-40-inch painting of six women in bathing suits standing on lily pads. “It’s one of my favorite pieces, because it’s totally invented from black and white charcoal drawings,” Michael says.
In another new painting, Barney’s Girl, Michael introduces a new element into his work: his Australian Labradoodle (named Barney of course). “You find your muse wherever you can,” Michael jests.
CODA GALLERY PRESENTS
SCULPTURES BY STACY PHILLIPS
EXHIBITION: MARCH 1-22
OPENING RECEPTION:MARCH 1, 5-8 PM
CODA Gallery presents a new exhibition of sculptures by Stacy Phillips, running March 1-22. An opening reception, attended by the Salt Lake City artist, will be held 5-8 p.m. on March 1 in conjunction with El Paseo Art Walk/Palm Desert First Weekend.
Among Stacy’s sculptures are torsos — some bronze and some painted ceramic — with beaded skirts of monochromatic crystal and pearl or multicolored beads. She takes the bead concept to an oversize scale in her series of painted wood disks (with center holes), 16 to 18 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 inches thick, cradled in a metal stand.
Also in ceramics, she creates brightly colored, abstract sculptures on wood bases. For walls, she makes flowers (some painted and some fired with gold luster) that can be mounted randomly or in one’s chosen pattern.
After earning a bachelor’s degree at Keene State College in New Hampshire and working a couple of years for an ad agency in Nebraska, Stacy moved to Park City, Utah, where she bought a frame shop and converted it into a gallery, exhibiting the work of other artists. After years of that, she yearned to get back to “the creating side” of art, she says. “I wanted to explore more in different materials.”
After selling the gallery, Stacy put together a body of work for the Sun Valley Arts Festival. At that time, Connie and David Katz owned a CODA Gallery in Park City, as well as in Palm Desert, California, and New York City, New York. “CODA was the gallery I wanted to be represented in, so I invited Connietocome see my work,” Stacy says. “She came and bought my whole show.”
Now residing in Salt Lake City, where she rents space in an arts complex encompassing studios for some 50 artists, Stacy maintains three rooms: one for sculpture, one for painting, and one that serves as her office for paperwork and art supplies. In addition to working on her own art, she teaches painting andmonoprinting and gives lectures and demonstrations throughout the state as the Working Artist of Utah for Golden Paints.
Stacy does not sketch but lets herself “respond to the work” as she goes. “The inspiration is the mystery of it,” she says. “You can only do so much in your brain. I love the discovery, the idea of ‘what if.’ The dance between intuition and intention motivates me to be in the studio every day.”