Stephen Mueller (1947 – 2011) was an artist and a friend and is not new to Columbus, as his work was shown here many times since 2004 both at the Rebecca Ibel Gallery and at the Pizzuti Collection. This selection of paintings is from 2005–2008 and is quintessential Mueller, with their kaleidoscope compositions and floating vessels.
Stephen was a kind and thoughtful person and visiting his studio was a unique experience. As long as I knew him, he had a home studio where the work and living spaces were under the same roof. As he generally let his paintings speak for themselves, one could learn more from the surroundings than through his words. He was a practicing Buddhist so it was hard to miss his alter and the ever-present smell of incense. Mueller found inspiration in life and art from Easter philosophy and religion. The bright colors and bold patterns are evident in these paintings. You can loose yourself inside the works; the sense of space is all encompassing and they seem to be radiating life.
Stephen was an artist’s artist. His work has influenced and inspired many painters as is evident in the recent exhibition “Orchidaceous’, curated by Carrie Moyer and Sarah Watson at Hunter College, New York in 2018. Artists have also collected his work, along with private individuals and numerous public institutions around the country including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work has been exhibited widely since 1970, and been reviewed by leading critics throughout his career. He has received numerous awards and was also an active writer and teacher.