Brenda Stumpf (American, b.1972) is a contemporary sculptor and painter. Stumpf began exhibiting her work during the mid 1990s upon leaving art school and has been recognized for her intricate use of unorthodox materials— the paper of steeped tea bags, unraveled rope, sand, plastic flowers, animal bones, salvaged wood, and scraped wallpaper — to create sculptures and assembled paintings that have a baroque sensibility layered atop evocative subject matter. Mythology, mysticism, ancient history and poetry are deep wells for Stumpf’s ceaseless intrigue into the mysterious, secretive, and unknown. When dismantling and then reconstructing with the found and discarded materials, Stumpf does so with an almost shamanistic approach — a potent act akin to the cycle of death and rebirth.
Stumpf’s paintings, sculpture, and works on paper have been exhibited in 26 solo and 122 group exhibitions that include the Butler Institute of American Art, the Littleton Museum, Denver Community Museum, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Foothills Art Center, Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, and this summer, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art. The artist’s work has been juried into numerous exhibits by the likes of Jerry Saltz, senior art critic and columnist for New York magazine, Christoph Heinrich, Director of the Denver Art Museum, Jamie Sterns, writer and the curatorial director of Brooklyn’s Interstate Projects, and Taras Malta, Associate Director and current Acting Director of the University of Maryland Art Gallery.
Designers, architects, institutions, and private clients have commissioned Stumpf to create signature works and currently her art resides in over 350 collections throughout the United States and abroad. Originally from Parma, OH the artist currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.
Stumpf wanders into mysterious and enchanted places – including the dark secretive ones when making her art. There is something ancient and timeless invoked by the abstract and symbolic work. Self taught, she works intuitively with no sketching or planning and has a compulsion to make intricate use of mixed media and found materials, creating on both intimate and large scales.
Her work has referenced female historic and mythic figures such as Pandora, Seshat, the Black Madonna, Hatshepsut, the victims of Jack the Ripper and the women of the Inquisitions. She has delved into her personal history playing with nostalgia and memory, and continues to be inspired by the works of composer Arvo Pärt and the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Rilke.
From Stumpf’s perspective, in the broadest context, there is a profound healing in the creation of art. It provides for the simultaneous healing of one’s life, ancestral lineage, and collective pain body. Creating art is a mystical and potent act – a shamanistic environ that transcends time and space.