Jim Lange Published

Sharon Lynn Stackpole: Follow the Flow


“I am always doing what I cannot yet do, in order to learn how to do it.”
― van Gogh

Soft, watery, Impressionistic, veiled, implied, nuanced: these might be descriptions of the art of Sharon Lynn Stackpole.

She describes her style as “being all over the map” and indeed the pieces have a broad palate of styles. Still, there is a unity and a recognizable style to her work.

What does it mean? Well, that can vary both in message and depth. Speech recalls a traumatic childhood issue with speaking; thus the overwhelming proliferation of words around a Munch-like foreground figure. The delicate grace of Watery Fish reflects just a love and fascination with aquatic life and environs. In A Moment’s Hesitation, the gesture is more enigmatic as if to say, “You, the viewer, must discern the meaning.” This is an artist who goes with the flow and follows where she believes the piece wants to take her. To let the piece evolve at its own pace.

"I try to get out of my own way and not think too much when I'm in the zone. It's kind of like being a leaf in the river. I'm just going along the current and letting it happen."

Which brings up the general discussion of meaning. Do you need an obvious narrative for the art to speak to you? In my experience, I am more often wrong than right in discerning the meaning of a work. That used to confound me, but now I see it as an unexpected surprise and pleasure. When I have the delight of freely wandering a gallery, my pulse quickens as I anticipate that epiphany when a work speaks to me.

To paraphrase the great Joseph Campbell, perhaps we are not looking for specific meaning in art, but rather to have the artistic experience. To be drawn out of one’s self, to surrender, to be swept up in another’s imagination. The world of art awaits our presence – we only need to look.

Sharon talks about her style, process and her thoughts on rules.

The artist talks about the works, Speech and Watery Fish. She lets us know, in a very unguarded moment, about a childhood struggle and how artistic honesty might help others.

Sharon Lynn Stackpole, pt. 2.