By Franklin Abbott
In her new show “Cavomyrt,” artist Brenda Stumpf begins her work from the point of view of the little girl she once was. She describes her creative process as a vortex and says, “the muses are coming at a very specific frequency when I am in it.” She calls that place where she receives her muses as one of “tender, magical enchantment.”
Not only does Stumpf look back in a “tender way,” she assembles artifacts of her childhood to incorporate into her pieces. Toys, dresses, hats, even keys from her aunt’s piano find their way into the large, textured paintings that form her new body of work. Her new show includes 14 pieces that are part painting, part sculpture. These works, composed over a period of years, have been a life review for the 44-year-old artist. Stumpf, whose work has focused on mythology and archetypes, focuses on “living memory,” which she sculpts and paints into panels that together form a womb, a protected area, a “cavomyrt,” a word Stumpf forms from the words “cave of my heart.”
The names of her works are all created words inspired from the images she works with. “Whirlory” is from “whirling memory.” “Secrace” is from “secret place.” “Opelossom” is from “open blossom.” The name of each piece has emerged as the piece has developed over time. Stumpf’s process of assembly and overlay is demonstrated in a video that documents her process of creation:
The works for “Cavomyrt” have been made in the artist’s studio, a decommissioned church near Pittsburgh, that gives her plenty of space to create and view the pieces that she calls “my girls.” Stumpf said showing the work is an act of “letting them go.” She says her slow built “family of work” can now stand on their own. Her work is now included in over 260 collections throughout the United States and abroad. Brenda Stumpf’s “Cavomyrt” opens at the Bill Lowe Gallery, 764 Miami Circle #210, on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Franklin Abbott is an Atlanta psychotherapist and consultant, writer and community activist.