In each of her paintings, Stefanie Gutheil creates a sanctuary of the bizarre – with a phantasmagoric stable of characters and a surreal, utopic landscape of chromatic and psychological vibrancy. With all their quirks and foibles in plain sight, the artist’s fantastical creatures appear to us as friends and intimates. Though there is more to these characters than their carnivalesque appearance; in their peculiar features and with their hearts on their sleeves, Gutheil’s oddballs all emit a vaguely familiar sense of the folkloric, as if the artist unraveled them from traditional fables and stitched together her own. Yet in her fairytales, Gutheil has not set a narrative. Instead, she provides all the raw, jumbled materials – the characters, the costumes, the emotions, and the stage – and leaves us to imagine our own farfetched tales, whether somberly retrospective or curiously, whimsically, and optimistically infantile.
Stefanie Gutheil lives and works in Berlin. Her work resides in public and private collections around the world, including the Taguchi Art Collection (Tokyo), the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Peekskill, NY), and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS), among many others. The artist and her work have been written about in publications such as Blouin Artinfo, Hyperallergic, Art in America, and Modern Painters. Gutheil was recently exhibited in a solo show at Helsinki Contemporary in Finland and a group exhibition at the Matsumoto City Museum in Japan.