STUDIO VISIT: Stephanie Rohlfs, San Francisco
On the eve of the launch of our collaborative print edition with Stephanie Rohlfs, we asked her to share some pics from her San Francisco studio and she also kindly answered a few questions about her stellar work.
Stephanie made her way to San Francisco by way of years spend in Long Island, Philadelphia and Chicago. Her practice is diverse and there is a wonderful tensions between the whimsy of her sculptural pieces and the complex themes she explores through their form.
How does this pair of new pieces fit within your current studio explorations or broader practice?
These pieces tie in with the body of work I'm trying to work on now, which I'm thinking of as "sculptures that are asking for it." Without beating the drum too loudly, it's a phrase that's really interesting to me as someone who exists in the world in a female body. But I'm more interested in it as a sculptural prompt, thinking about how an object might invite but simultaneously reject interaction within a "look-but-don't-touch" environment. (I explored this with an earlier body of work that dealt with the sculptural possibilities of cat furniture and what it might look like to make art for non-humans.) The holes in the prints have been cropping up a lot; I think of those as glory holes. And the bodily references with the penis finger shapes. I've been making a lot of those as physical objects in the studio. So there's this kind of silly, fart-joke sexuality to them, but it's more about the weirdness of having a body and enjoying other bodies than it is about being overtly nasty.
Does your current city or environment influence your work?
I think living in northern California definitely influences my color palette. There's a lot of bright, western color out here, but the fog puts a damper on it. But I'd also say that even when I was living in Philly, everyone told me I was a California artist. I also think there's a kind of casual conceptualism that's specific to San Francisco that I've really felt a kinship with; a kind of playful intellectual curiosity that deals with very real inquiries in a more light-hearted way.
What’s coming up next for you and what are you working on at the moment?
I'm working towards a show of these sculptures and drawings, in early 2017. There are some larger-scale sculptures that I'm really excited about that are big enough to confront the viewer, and they incorporate some uncanny elements like fake hair, or references to pubic hair and back fat and other "less-attractive" bodily aspects. A lot of the titles for those pieces are based off of aggregated search results from a popular porn website. It's really fascinating, the little misspelled haikus that people make while they are trying to look for something specific. I'm also close to releasing the second edition of the "Lunar Artists Residency" zine, in which artists produce work on a conceptual residency on the Moon. This edition's artist is Sarah Hotchkiss.