Idealized Innocence: Art by Serena Stevens
Serena Stevens is a painter based in Iowa. In her artistic practice, Serena blends the idealized innocence of childhood with darker themes of paranoia and frustration. The artist’s paintings often take on a collages aesthetic, bringing together numerous seemingly disparate images and subjects.
I’m quite enjoying the works in Serena’s gallery of recent paintings. In these, the artist sticks to her collage style and employs a variety of easily relatable motifs to help give the viewer a jumping-off point into each. In many cases, though, removing these motifs from their context also lends a sense of further mystery, inviting the viewer to spend a bit more time observing, applying new contextual meaning to an object or symbol.
I like the way that Serena’s distinctive style carries over from her paintings into her collage works. The artist’s collages range from relatively simple and impactful images -- a single item strategically placed over an otherwise intact photo, for example -- to hallucinatory, surrealist landscapes packed with figures and visuals.