January - February 2024: Stephanie Roberts-Camello
Assembling a history plays an important role in my encaustic painting. In 2015 I found a bin of old family letters from the 20’s-40’s. They were written by members of my paternal family who were cowboys and farmers in West Texas. They reference the dust bowl and difficulty keeping cattle alive as well as the ongoing drought that decimated the farm lands. To make matters worse the Great Depression hit. The reading was fascinating and made my troubles insignificant in comparison, but as I continued to experiment with encaustic forms I found a relationship in the stress marks and layers. I began combining these letters with eco printing, rusted papers and most recently artist conk mushrooms below the surface as metaphors for struggles, endurance and change. Their stains, information and wear, reference the passing of time. Many layers of wax are applied and literally cover up the past. Encaustic as it cools retains every scrape and scar. As a material, it has an innate feature for documentation. Seemingly destructive to the surface, the peeling plays a positive role as it reveals a small piece of history while other areas remain buried. It unearths a stratum of time much like the earth’s core. Most recently I have started to use patterns below the surface to symbolize the pathways that shape a life. They have a structure that feels like bones to me. The depth created working in relief is jarring, alluring and frightening. There is risk involved in the process, but the presence of this relief work conveys a sense of resilience and life. It speaks with a boldness and beauty which is also fragile.
The last 2 years have come with their own challenges and struggles which keep this work relevant to the times.
Stephanie Roberts-Camello earned a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. Competing regionally and nationally she set up a studio in an old factory in Rockland, MA. and was one of the founders of the 4th Floor Artists Studios there. She was awarded a residency at The Vermont Studio Center in 1997 & 2016.
Her unique way of forming relief surfaces with encaustic wax got her recognition for articles written in 2016 in Artscope and The Surface Design Journal. The painting “The Breakaway” won the Centerfold feature in the March/April 2016 issue of Artscope as well.
In 2013 & 2017 she was awarded a scholarship to attend the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown where she continues to go yearly.
She was represented for many years at the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, Ma, and exhibits extensively throughout the east coast.
Stephanie is currently a member of New England Wax which consists of 34 artists working in hot and cold wax in all of the New England states, and was president of the organization in 2021 & 2022. She and her husband run a honey business called Queen Bee Honey Products where she creates all the products and cleans the beeswax that goes into her paintings. Her work is in many public and private collections including Meditech, Mitz Levin and Enkaustikos.