William stoehr

 "For me the essence of art is the exploration of fundamental issues of our time. I explore intolerance, discrimination, addiction and violence with its victims, witnesses and survivors." | William Stoehr

artist statement

Starting with a vague or elusive expression and an uncertain context, I hope to provoke viewers into visually completing my portraits with their own more complete and ideal mental image and to then create the narrative based on their own experience and feelings. 

We are attracted to faces – it is our nature. If I fill the canvas with a big face then there is little room for external leading context. I think that the large size and closely cropped image creates an elevated sense of intimacy. Searching for meaning, viewers may turn inward to create a subjective reality. 

If I engage you with eyes then I can also start to do other things peripherally with line and color. I can color outside of the lines and your mind will resolve it. Vague and scribbled outlines and graphic vectors become part of a recognizable whole while a hint of “unreal” complimentary and equal value color causes the eyes to seem life-like. I experiment with the amount and type of information required to evoke an image and to find those characteristics that cause the viewer to emotionally respond to the portrait. 

All of my paintings start with a live model and then I work from reference photographs. I have developed a practice of deliberately reacting to less than controlled and/or accidental incidences. 

I use a limited palette of acrylic paint. I vary the coverage, spraying varnish between layers and then scrubbing, scraping, scratching or sanding the surface while applying a variety of marks – strokes, dots and other adjustments. I try not to differentiate between my drawing and painting. 

These paintings tend to be layers of fresh starts. I believe I might have a finished face one day but soon I brush, flow or spill paint all over the surface, leaving traces – a template to guide the next iteration. 

It seems that whenever I think I have a new idea I find someone who did it, sometimes, centuries ago. I am not interested in imitation. I am interested in continuing their inquiries. I consider myself to be a traditional artist in search of ways to build on the past. In the end I am attempting to facilitate alternative emotional experiences through the use of changing and alternating points of view, engaging gaze, uncertain context, elusive emotion and naturalistic cues.

artist BIO

Boulder Creative Collective, Victims, Witnesses and Survivors, one-person exhibition
Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta GA, one-person exhibition (upcoming)

Space Gallery, Denver, CO
Firehouse Art Center, Longmont, CO

Space Gallery, Denver, CO

Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO, one-person exhibition

Art Gym, Political BS, Denver CO
Windows to the Divine, Exhibition 2016, Denver CO
Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, “Color”, juried by Lillian Tone of the MOMA
Bill Lowe Gallery, Carnaval: A New Exuberance”, Atlanta GA
Art Gym, Selfies, Denver, CO
The Great Frame Up, Longmont CO
Space Gallery, Denver CO
History of Visual Arts in Boulder, Rembrandt Yard Art Gallery, Boulder CO

Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, “Black and White”, juried by Christiane Paul of the Whitney Museum of American Art (awarded a Best in Show)
Habitat Gallery, Best of Denver Santa Fe Art District.
Governors Art Show, Loveland Museum. Loveland, CO
Art Students League of Denver, juried by Christoph Heinrich of the Denver Art Museum
Bill Lowe Gallery, “Ancestors: Origins and Return”, Atlanta GA
Gallery St Thomas, Virgin Islands

Florida State University Museum of Fine Art, Tallahassee, FL
Governors Art Show, Loveland Museum, Loveland, CO
New York Hall of Science, Science Inspires Art
Knoll Gallery, Best of Denver Santa Fe Art District
Seven State Biennial, Goddard Art Center, juried by Mark White of the Fred Jones Museum of Art-University of Oklahoma

Stephen F. Austin State University, “Texas National”, juried by Peter Selz past MOMA and UC Berkeley Art Museum (awarded 3rd Place)
Knoll Gallery, Best of Denver Santa Fe Art District (awarded Best of Show)
Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA, juried by George T.M. Shackelford of the Kimbell Art Museum
San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton, CA, juried by Rene de Guzman of the Oakland Museum of California
Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ - Studio Montclair, juried by Helaine Posner - Neuberger Museum of Art
Arvada Center, “Art of the State”, juried by Collin Parson - Arvada Center and Dean Sobel - Clyfford Still Museum

Barrett Art Center, “New Directions”, juried by Susan Cross of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemp. Art (awarded 2nd Place)
b.j.spoke gallery, “Expo 31”, juried by Margot Norton of the New Museum

Nassau Community College, juried by Samantha Rippner of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (awarded Merit Award)
The Visual Art Center of New Jersey, juried by Joan Young of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum
The Museum of the Living Artist, juried by Roxana Velasquez of the San Diego Museum of Art

Santa Cruz Art League, juried by George Rivera of the Triton Museum of Art
Denver International Airport
Colorado State Capital
Denver Botanic Gardens
Metropolitan State University Center For Visual Art, Denver, CO