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Bruce Stahnke - Paintings and Prints

I paint what I love.

One day all of what we love and cherish, all that we despise and hate, and even that which we ignore and cannot understand will disappear from this earth.  We can do nothing to change this, no trace can be meaningfully preserved, no remnant will remain.  In the face of disintegration and dissolution we can only say yes.  Yes, to being here now; yes to sharing this time with all that is now here; yes to experiencing the painful and poignant beauty of the transient. 


The fleeting nature of living things is common to all, and through this commonality we can know our kinship with the rest of life, and our belonging to this infinitely complex, fluid, evolving, uncertain, endlessly interrelated, never-to-be-repeated world.  Painting consists of the transformation of what was seen through immersion in this ephemeral world by what was felt in its presence.  This is what I paint, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Water is singular, it joins all living things in one vast and restless ocean cycling through endless incarnations of bodies connecting them, molecule by molecule, it becomes many things endlessly changing from the snowflake to the sea, and while it itself is not living it is the medium life is born into and out of which it is made.  Water is literally what we share, and what shares us, with the rest of nature.  

Awe and wonder in the presence of nature are unmediated responses connecting the perceiver and the perceived and dissolving the one into the other.  The smallest of experiences can be enough to transport you into this dissolution.  Painting is the direct perception of the connection with nature in the presence of dissolution.