The 2011 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show: Ellen Stedtefeld

Ellen Stedtefeld, Gallery Educator

Ellen Stedtefeld with her mixed media pieces, "Bound," and "Shoes on Wire." Photo: Ellen Stedtefeld

How did you decide to choose this work for the staff show?

I chose these two artworks for the staff show because they are my most recent works in a series about my experiences working with at-risk and incarcerated youth.

16 thoughts on “The 2011 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show: Ellen Stedtefeld

  1. Ellen, the world thanks you for your work and service with these children. I am curious about “Shoes on Wire.” Was there an incident that sparked this image? I feel the immediacy and poignancy of these images.

    • Hi Pat, Thanks for your comment. Many thoughts and incidents inspire my art and I invite you the viewer to bring your own experiences to the work. I would love to know what struck you about this image, what made you curious?

      I pass a pair of shoes thrown over a wire daily as I go to work. I have noticed that periodically they are removed but always reappear. Like Sarah Z noted below, they usually represent a location where a crime takes/took place. Empty shoes also are frequently used as a symbol to represent the loss of the shoes’ owners.

  2. El, I love the works you chose. The stark colors and minimal colors really mimic the environment that our kids live in day. They’re really relatable. They’re fantastic. =)

  3. I’ve always associated shoe tossing with drug houses, which never made sense to me. I understand wanting to advertise your services, but it seems unlikely that someone would publicize the distribution of illegal goods so blatantly. I did some Internet research on Wikipedia, and it seems shoe tossing can symbolize a lot more than I thought Given the multiple meanings, I’m wondering which interpretation the artist had in mind when creating this piece.

  4. Both of the pieces are really powerful. The media and the colors you chose add meaning to the image in both pieces. I would love to see more works in this series, as well.

  5. Hey Ellen, I really like your work! The bleak color palette of the torn paper along with your drawings has a powerful effect. I think it is expresses your experiences of working with at-risk and incarcerated kids effectively. Congrats!

  6. Congratulations Ellen! I’d love to see the rest of the series… and it is so good to see you processing your experiences in such a dynamic way.

  7. El,
    LOVE “Shoes on a Wire”, and it is great to see the Phillips displaying your work. I’m glad u3773 has made her debut, and excellent use of a sharpie. GO ELLEN!!!

  8. Hi Ellen,
    You have seen and heard about so much tragedy and hopelessness.It is clearly conveyed in your art which is stunning. How fabulous that it is being featured in an exhibit at the Phillips!
    Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  9. I love these pieces. The color in the hands painting is powerful. The hands are clenced tight and look like their angry. The shoes are great and the grey color creates a bleakness of dispair. Keep up the intesting. work.

    Mark S.

  10. Great pieces. I like both works and particularly enjoy the contrast of the black drawing to the lighter mixed media background. I also think the textured background in ‘Shoes on Wire’ is cool because it gives the impression of troubled skies behind the shoes. Keep up the good work. ~Lee

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