While Stephanie E. Graham uses many techniques and media, they come together as part of what the artist sees as her major theme. “I view the majority of my work,” she says, “as a self portrait: a constant layering of the objects, creatures and places that fascinate me.” Having started out by drawing and working with oil paints, Graham’s repertoire has extended into collage, embroidery and the use of beeswax sheets as well as paper that has been dipped in beeswax. When an allergy to oil paints led her away from that medium, those other materials helped her follow a path toward the multi-layered pieces she now produces.
Many of Graham’s images depict bees and their environments. From detailed drawings of plants and insects to delicate collages that incorporate wax, paper and thread, her images bring alive that complex world. Inspired by Victorian naturalists and Dutch still-life painting, she combines the realism of those forms with a modern sense of space and an ability to experiment with color and texture to form new connections. The time and care it takes to create her works inevitably become a central part of their meaning. “I want to slow people down and remind them of a time when everything was handcrafted,” she says.