Stefanie Rocknak’s pieces are slightly larger than lifesize, torsos and heads twisted into intense expressions that can be seen in both the face and body. Each work is incredibly serious, the pupil-less eyes seeming to look right through the viewer.
The Swimmer is one of Rocknak’s most active pieces, her subject carved into an environment of rough waves, fighting for a breath while they are caught mid-stroke. Details can be seen down to the swimmer’s wristwatch and veins, palpable adrenaline coursing through the subject’s body.
The New York-based artist’s sculptural practice is highly influenced by her many trips to Europe, especially by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini who she experienced in Rome. Although trained as a painter, she fell in love with the warmth and unpredictability of wood, preferring three dimensional work over two. Rocknak likes to stick to the detail of the work’s physical creation explaining that “conceptual art leaves me cold. So my figures, quite intentionally, are immediate and obvious; ideally, they do not need a theory to do their talking.”