In 1928, Georgia O’Keeffe painted giant orange poppies. “If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it,” she said, “no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small. So I said to myself–I’ll paint it big...and they will be surprised.” Georgia O’Keeffe’s Oriental Poppies are gigantic. It is Flower Power at its most intense. Size, color and vastness make us one with the flower; make us feel the flower’s flowerness. Now come Eric Stampfli’s blossoms, adding new dimensions to what O’Keefe designed. His florid-torrid mix of passion, color, sexuality and gigantism makes an even bigger, even more sensual statement. Stampfli freezes his favorite blooms in large blocks of ice that he quickly positions in a highly articulated studio lighting set up and photographs them dripping with shades of colors we have never seen before. As the ice melts, it reflects, refracts, and adds different degrees of transparency and opacity. Sometimes the posies look like impressionist paintings, as if the flower is hiding under the petticoats of a Degas ballerina. Other times, they are frozen in delicious icicles, wet with color.
The photographer embeds the enormous 48x70 inch prints in half an inch of icy plexiglass. They seem to hover on the wall like uber-glossy jewels. Stampfli’s exhibition, STILL, will run from October 17 through November 21, 2015 at the Artist’s Corner Gallery in Hollywood. A reception for the artist is planned for the opening night.