As light passes through Stephanie Armbruster’s use of encaustic paint, color combines and contrasts in rhythm with directional pathways of energy. Armbruster explores the interrelationships between memory and location. External environmental energies influence internal conditions, just as internal conditions impact perception of our surrounding environment. She intertwines past and present histories into the complex, blurred mass of shared perception.
With their atmospheric presence, Armbruster's luminous paintings in oil and hot wax seek balance between figure and ground, blurring the lines between landscape and gestural abstraction. Working primarily in encaustic, Armbruster's paintings are composed of dozens of layers of translucent wax, fused with a flame torch, and smoothed by hand. Acting as waypoints in the path of memory, Armbruster’s paintings recall the story and sentiment of each encounter, depicted through a lens of synesthesia. Each represents a simultaneous point of connection and departure along an unplanned course.
The transitory nature of memory speaks to the ephemeral nature of encaustic as a medium. Much like their inspiration, Armbruster’s paintings are densely-layered accumulations of structure and symbolism. Order tones beautifully with chaos. Armbruster's paintings create a frequency that allows the viewer to tune-in and access all that is shared in memory.
Armbruster was born in Cleveland Ohio, in 1983. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where she received a BFA in 2006. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally at institutions including the Chautauqua Institution, Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Cornell University, Los Angeles Printmaking Society, and others.
View images from Armbruster's 2019 BoxHeart Exhibition, Meridian.