Pia is an abstract artist who found her voice with her first brush stroke.
Returning to UC Berkeley as a senior, she enrolled in the art program. During these years, Pia was greatly influenced by several artists who were integral to the Bay Area Figurative Movement including Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Joan Brown, and, most notably, her mentor Elmer Bischoff. Her work is held in galleries, museums, public and private collections nationwide, and has been critically acclaimed in newspapers, books, and journal reviews. She currently lives, works, and surfs in San Diego
Behind the Scenes
I am a process painter. Using oil paints and drawing materials in an intuitive manner, I rarely approach my work with a preconceived idea. Like an archaeologist, I approach the canvas as if on a ‘dig’, adding and subtracting, waiting for the meaning of the piece to reveal itself through the mark making process. My work is a disciplined activity akin to meditation or prayer – an activity that enables me to feel more fully engaged with life on a spiritual level.
Many of my works, although primarily abstract, incorporate symbols and imagery. Scratched into or added to the surface of the works are often images of ladders, crosses, animals, windows, waves or moons. My family background (my parents escaped Nazi Germany) has sensitized me not only to the beauty, but also to the pathos in life. Much of the work is existential in nature, appearing to deal with the tension between light and dark – both metaphorically and formally. Ultimately, I view my paintings as visual interpretations of psychological and philosophical dilemmas that confront me.
- Pia Stern