© 2014 Stephanie Pech

Stephanie Pech brings realism into play in her painting in the sense of a critical method. She is not seeking a trompe-1'oeil or optical illusion; she also does not idealize her pictorial figures. She questions them critically by, for instance, changing their situ-ational environs. She seeks out the object, places it in a different situation and subjects it to an almost surreal self-examination. At the same time she paints pictures of great excitement and energy that act both like metaphors of life and like people in life. No picture of hers is "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought" (Hamlet), so overpowering is the vitality present.

 

No object looks in the picture as it would be seen in real­ity. Yet it is felt and probed, exactly studied, so that it takes on a dimension in the picture that places it between life and death, love and loneliness.

 

Truth through painting breaks new ground in the format of the blowup. The painting method becomes an option of truth. Which is why the titles are only indirectly related to the depic­tion; they are mostly a dialectic, perhaps even an ironic, ingredi­ent. The viewer has to beware when he approaches the pictures with or without familiarity with the titles. They initially promise something different from what they, after longer viewer-engage­ment, can later keep to.

 

An asparagus on a red tablecloth printed with razor blades is, obviously, a still life ("nature morte" in the Romance languages), but also Old Testament. The painting is called Judith's Feat. The Portrait of an Eel shows an eel stretched out against a blue back­ground on a fabric that quotes Bellini's portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan.

 

Thus all the titles together can tell stories based on other pictures with a story background, without, however, becoming themselves narrative paintings. Ophelia is the top part of a bikini in a basin, in a bathtub; a crab in a bathtub sidling towards the drain is called crab peace; hidden horizons presents a similar theme; a Dutch Still Life shows mussels on a plate with Delft tiles, etc., etc.

 

The pictures are not simply painted with the perfection of a talented realist painter, nor gut-reaction produced, but are gradu­ally explored and compiled constructs that are just as much deter­mined by the mind as by painterly curiosity.

 

Dieter Ronte