Artist Feature: Stephanie Buer

Editor Shenyah Webb, Art, October 18th, 2018

"...absence of human figures in a place clearly marked by them."

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Stephanie Buer moved from rural Michigan to Detroit when she was 19 and spent the next decade photo-documenting the dilapidated, yet rich landscapes that once thrived there. In charcoal and oil she captures the stillness of these abandoned relics, structures surrendered to the encroaching entropy. There is something special in witnessing the creaking bones of old Detroit as time and neglect take their toll, the city slowly succumbing to nature.

Detroit is changing, yes, but nothing can erase its potent history – once it’s inside you, it’s there to stay. This is what shaped Buer and her aesthetic, and continues to live on through her work.

Stephanie explains:
I have an intimate appreciation of urban desolation and a love for the once prosperous buildings that have been abandoned to time and the elements. In the juxtaposition between decay and growth, I find a place that echoes the peace I find in nature, with its endless cycles of change.

Part of the power in my work comes from the absence of human figures in a place clearly marked by them. Rather than allowing distant observation as narrative, I draw viewers in to witness the space that people have left behind, compelling them to personally experience these modern relics that have been condemned by society.
 

The simultaneously idyllic, yet derelict scenes challenge viewers to question their notions of beauty, while the detailed texture and depth that is characteristic of my work invites them to explore these places personally, as I do while taking the photographs from which I work.

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Stephanie Buer, now based in Portland, has spent over a decade observing the urban landscapes in Detroit, MI where she received her BFA from The College for Creative Studies in 2006. She has participated in several solo and group exhibitions throughout the US, and in France and Japan since 2010. Her next solo exhibition will take place at the Thinkspace Gallery in LA on January 5th, 2019.

 

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Shenyah Webb

Shenyah Webb is a Portland-based visual artist and musician. She has been with NAILED Magazine since its inception in 2012 and has served as the Arts Editor and a Contributing Editor since its launch in 2013. A Detroit native, she attended The College for Creative Studies, where she focused on Fine Art and Industrial Design. She is currently enrolled in a Somatic Expressive Arts Education and Therapy training program, studying under Lanie Bergin. You can learn more about Shenyah here. (Shenyah.com)