This painting is taken from the southeast corner of Vine Street and McMillan during the demolition of the disco club named “Reflections”. The composition juxtaposes the stately dark gothic forms of old St. Georges Church above the demo staging on a particularly bright and sunny day.
Characteristic of this series is a fresh look at pictorial textures i.e., weeds, detritus and debris, graffiti as elements depicting themes of inner city turmoil, destruction and renewal. I have introduced the palette knife in the painting process to add dimension and surface texture to the painting that make even more physical the expression of the site.
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OIL WATERCOLOR PASTEL
Steele searches for a personal definition of beauty, a new poetry in the raw, contemporary elements. This body of work observes her 'hood' in a variety of seasons and time of day, detailing the ravaged concrete and barbed wire in the baking heat of summer or a snowy, blustery winter's day. The daily struggle of survival as well as the progress of American industry provide viable subject matter for her expressive brush and knife.
Museum Center Series of plein-air pastels and oil paintingsOAC Individual Excellence Grant for the year 2019: Steele's latest project is the intensive restoration of historic Cincinnati Union Terminal, now known as the Cincinnati Museum Center.This American rail station icon completed in 1933, majestically dominates the city's west side with its soaring Art Deco architectural design. The current restoration brings to bear modern science and engineering techniques to refurbish and update this beloved monument to train transportation. From her sketches in pastel to the expanded compositions in oil, Steele's artwork captures the daily processes of the men and their equipment in fresh artistic statements.
"I was intrigued by the daily physical integration of the various contractors: the orchestrated dance of multiple cranes as specialists cleaned the face of the building. Bricklayers resetting the substructure. Stonemasons maneuvered the cleaned and refurbished surface stonesas the morning light glanced off the soaring Art Deco facade in the background. I really enjoyed the scale of the human element in my compositions, particularly as it contrasted with the monumental immortals of transportation carved on either side of the facade."
Air Worx, Pastel
Cleaning the face (South side)
Cleaning the Stone
Work cranes cleaning the Face
Removing the Grill, oil
Raising above the dust, oil, 26x38
Working on the wall
Steele received this grant in recognition of her accomplishments and to continue her artistic endeavors.
FC Stadium Gate 4
Field of Dreams
Steele's current paintings also explore the art studio neighborhood of this urbanite in a gritty color palette. The inevitable decay of these brick and mortar worksites is amplified by slashing graffiti tags and windblown debris.
"Her colors shimmer in our gaze, none are flat, there’s a feeling that her brush moves rapidly but surely across her canvas. She finds inadvertent art in surprising places and things: a wire fence somewhat damaged is a pleasure to look at in her world." Jane Durrell: AEQAI Review of "Urbanscape" at Wash Park Art Gallery August 2015