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 Aleta Steward  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: birds, botanical

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Ad Code: 4
Aleta Steward
from Auction House Records.
Five swallows at a weathered front door numbered "2012"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Tree's Place Gallery:
Aleta Steward began drawing and painting as a child.  She studied briefly at the Art Students League in New York City, but her formative painting years were spent in northern California, and her initial vision of open space and its birds was from this locale. 

When she relocated her studio to Cape Cod in 1987, she applied her observational and painting skills to the local coastal habitat which included herons, plovers, and ospreys as well as the songbirds which remain her central subject.  After a short period of time, Steward began to add to her western list of show credits and awards.  She won major prizes from the New England Woodcarving and Wildlife Art Expo in 1993 and 1994, and from the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1994 and 1995. 

Over the past few years, Steward’s paintings have been changing to reflect her solution to a compositional problem that is particularly relevant to wildlife artists working in a highly realistic style. If the object is to produce a unified work of art, rather than a portrait of the bird or animal (for example, a duck stamp), then the painting must include and aesthetically use as part of the composition the vegetation in all of its complexity in which the creature is viewed – its habitat.  However, if the same degree of verisimilitude, of sharply depicted branches, twigs, and leaves, is reproduced throughout the painting, then the overall composition of the painting becomes confused.  Our ability to find and become interested in the central bird or creature is diminished or destroyed. Steward has increasingly tended to defocus and partially abstract her backgrounds in order to suggest intricate vegetal habitats while at the same time making certain that we as viewers never lose our sharp focus and fascination with a reality of life revealed as feathers, eyes, and the potential of quick flight which will make the subject vanish.

Aleta Steward has been the subject of profiles and articles in various publications, including Cape Cod Life magazine (September 1996).

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