On Monday, November 26, I went to church, where I had a vision of the ocean and the sea. It was “Off the Coast of Me.” And beyond good: the Roman god Neptune had invaded the sanctuary and was smiling.

Yin meets yang in this show of artist Stephanie Fuller‘s lyrical yet muscular marine paintings, which continues through January 6, 2013 in the Narthex Gallery at Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, Manhattan.

Especially if your regular haunts include the galleries that line 57th Street and/or the Museum of Modern Art, all in the ‘hood, stop by and see the exhibition.To put it mildly – and pun shamelessly – Ms. Fuller is definitely making waves.

Fuller is a latter-day Abstract Expressionist, enthralled by her medium – acrylics sometimes layered with flecks of gold leaf, glass and sand — and imbued with the joy that comes from the physical act of painting. With her new body of work, the artist joins a tradition dating back to the Dutch Golden Age of painting, the 17th century, when the genre really took hold.

Some renowned painters created sea- and ocean-scapes with a classic serenity. Casper David Friedrich and Joseph Mallord William Turner – widely considered the greatest seascape painter ever – among them.

Others such as Winslow Homer, Theordore Gericault, Frederic Edwin Church, Claude Monet (“La Manneporte”) and weighing in from the East, Katsushika Hokusai, (the curls of his “Wave” are shaped like fangs), tended to focus on the evil twin: sea as aggressive predator, terrible and terrifying, lying in wait beneath a seductively smooth mirror.

Variations on the theme of marine art suggest the domestication of liquid expanses. In Richard Diebenkorn’s urban seascapes series, water is as approachable, even friendly, as a pet dog. (Ditto, Claude Monet’s  “La terrace de Sainte Adresse”)

And Fuller? Though I suspect  her natural tropism is more towards Turner rather than Homer, the lady claims a seat right on the fence:

“My goal is to draw attention to the feelings one experiences in the presence of water: peace, power, freedom and/or fear.”

Colors – forbidding dark green, happy Caribbean turquoise, baby boy blue, reds way hotter than Dorothy’s shoes – contribute to the dramatic exuberance of the work. In their elegance and (barely) contained flamboyance, Fuller’s paintings are, in a very real sense, self portraits.

Check out the many shades of Stephanie – toads, Haitia, Les Desmoiselles, Beyond the Coast of Me – on her website.

About the artist:

Stephanie Fuller began her career not as a painter, but as a studio singer and recording artist. She was also once the red hot lead vocalist for Kid Creole and the Coconuts, lending context to the aforementioned hot reds.  The home she shares with husband Tom Anthony on Fire Island, the couple’s travels and love of sailing inspired “Off the Coast of Me.”

For a view of the show see the video:

  • Justin
    Posted at 07:46h, 04 December

    Hi, Susan! Lovely review, but I need to call attention to one error: it’s “Off The Coast Of Me”, not “Beyond The Coast Of Me”…

    • admin
      Posted at 16:23h, 09 December

      Thanks so much Justin. Good catch. I am about to make that change.

    • admin
      Posted at 21:51h, 09 December

      Great to hear your voice after all this time. And sharp eye on the content…
      Clint Viebrock

      • Justin
        Posted at 11:01h, 26 December

        Clint! LONG time, no see! Cheers!

  • Steve Friedman
    Posted at 22:56h, 04 December

    What a terrific review. It really captures the essence of this talented new artist, whose works inspire and awe. The review puts the artist’s work in a perfect context, and conveys a real feeling of what it is like to be in the presence of these paintings. Who knew that a modest blogger from a small Colorado town could so capture a New York artist’s expression of the Great Blue Sea.

    • admin
      Posted at 16:21h, 09 December

      Steve.Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your thumbs up means the world to me — and I know to Stephanie.

  • Steve Friedman
    Posted at 22:56h, 04 December


  • Mary Lou
    Posted at 16:20h, 07 December

    Stephanie since we will be in Mt. Kisco w/Jr & Tay, we hope to visit your expo. Bravia Signora! You did it! Time well spent. I must send you a site Of a French friend who has designed rugs with water off Florida. Website: http://jppt.jimdo.comLook him up!
    Hoping to meet up with and Tom between 20-26 dec. mlr

    • admin
      Posted at 16:24h, 09 December

      I am sure Steph will appreciate your comment. Thx on her behalf.

  • Stephanie Fuller
    Posted at 10:07h, 11 December

    Whilst Off the Coast of Me… some messages in bottles have seemed to floated to the shores of Telluride. Hope you get a sea of snow to float away on, dearest Telluride.
    That Tio sure gets around! 🙂
    Thank you Viebrocks for your article on my exhibit.
    I hope for visitors to see it and …touch it.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Kimball Kramer
    Posted at 14:41h, 14 December

    Great review for an exciting show that I saw yesterday. Show title is also a song title from Kid Creole and the Coconuts. The review makes the connection understandable.

  • Lisa Horvath
    Posted at 04:21h, 20 December

    Stephanie, again you have amazed me with your extraordinary talent. Your work is truly amazing. Congratulations to you and all of the success that you have acquired. I feel privileged to have been in your artist workshop to see these masterpieces before anyone else. Now, I may have to buy one to share with my Southern friends:) I have never known anyone with such a wide variety of talents. I think Rice Patty may be one of my most favorites. I love you dear friend, and I wish all the best for you and your future challenges. Keep up with with your art because it is “fabulous” x0x0x0, Lisa