Most people don't know the models in Ilene Gienger-Stanfield's paintings, but still her works are understood at a personal level. The Phoenix artist regularly utilizes models in her figurative oil and pastel paintings. After years in the business, she says she feels in tune with her subjects, and all she needs is a look, gesture or pose to convey a universal message or emotion to the viewer.
"There's a lot of communication that goes on between body language," she says.
Unless she's doing a portrait, Gienger-Stanfield purposely angles the face in such a way as to keep it hidden from the viewer, which creates mystery and makes the content more generic. Retro costumes, which she picks up from Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, as well as an everyday backdrop, give the audience some context for a story without giving it away entirely.
Although most of her models are female, she works with both genders. She says females are more marketable, but males are "fun to paint because they are more angular."
Every Tuesday, Gienger-Stanfield arranges for a model, and she and a half-dozen other artists meet at her country studio space to paint.
Her paintings have a lot of variety, with loose and tight strokes, and neutral and bold colors. They are the sum of small shapes that together comprise a much larger image. In a sense, she is using an abstract method to create impressionistic or representational works.
"I don't paint what I know it to be," she says. "I paint what I'm actually seeing."
In November, Gienger-Stanfield submitted one of her works, "Distracted," in the American Impressionist Society's 13th annual National Juried Exhibit and won second place and a generous cash prize. More than 1,000 other artists also submitted work for the exhibit, and of those, only 100 were selected to show. The piece will be displayed through January at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, 40 S. Bartlett St., Medford.
Gienger-Stanfield's studio is open by appointment only. Call 541-512-0481. To view more of her work, see www.ilenegienger.com.