Stephanie Nadler

Author Archive

Painter Stephanie Nadler: A Darkness Denied By Society

by on Apr.01, 2009, under WayFare Magazine Article

WayFare Magazine Article

June/July 1992


Painter Stephanie Nadler: A Darkness Denied By Society by Christina Frei

Stephanie Nadler is seated on a wooden, paint-spattered chair in front of me, her legs crossed, one hand gripping a bottle of raspberry juice. She looks very small in front of a huge canvas of a work-in-progress; a self-portrait. The more than life-size painted head looms with an eerie green hue above the real one, which is smiling cheerfully. I find it difficult not to keep looking from one to the other, wondering which of the two is more real. As she later points out “people judge you from the outside, but it’s hard to tell what you’re really like. I kind of confuse people”.

Her paintings are rich in dark, earthy tones and the oil paint is thickly layered. Grotesque images seem to lurch into the foregrounds of the canvases, out of nowhere, commanding attention and defying the viewer to react. They are powerful; not only in terms of physical intensity, but also in the way a ghostly green or blue light plays on faces to give them an uncanny and ominous distortion.

Stephanie’s work is inspired by her dreams, her experiences and emotions, and is therefore quite personal. Often, it takes her a year or more to finally reach the point where she records her experiences. “Every time I try to do something logically…if intuitively I’m not ready, it doesn’t work. I have to sit and wait. It’s frustrating…but its part of every aspect of my life. My painting is tied tightly to my life.”

Medusa’s Breast’s—-painted one year after the dream on which it is based—shows the torso of a woman whose breasts eject long streams of blood. The response to the painting has been strong and Stephanie finds it absurd that such a personal image could engender such extreme reactions; particularly with some women who found it offensive and sexist.

“I wasn’t doing it to make a statement”, she protests. “But that’s what it became after the fact…the fact that she has no head, well…a lot of women are looked at like that.” She further argues that breasts—which are considered passive sexual objects—became active in a very strong way in the dream. “Blood is frightening,” she shrugs, “But it is also life-giving.”

There is a distinctly Spanish aspect to her work. “I really like the realists—and Goya. I have a strong feeling for Spanish artist, maybe because my family comes from there. We got kicked out after the Inquisition. Goya was one of the first painters who sort of threw paint on and turned it into an image.” The German expressionists and Munch are also favourites. “I like angst-ridden paintings, anxiety provoked, neurotic—I like that kind of stuff.”

This kind of ‘neurotic’ feeling can be perceived in Don’t Talk, which depicts a person being overwhelmed by a monstrous hand. “People were telling me to shut up all the time. I’m pretty open about my feelings and I say it right away. It causes problems.” She concedes. But the meaning of the work is more subtle than “just physically, being told to shut up. The painting stands for oppression against—not only what you’re saying—but also who you are”.

The intensity of emotion in her work can be horrifying. She calls it “the darkness in human nature” which society often refuses individuals the right to express. “It’s a reality a lot of people don’t want to face. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. If people were more honest about that, it would be a lot easier to live in this world. I can paint about the darkness and that’s probably why I’m so light-hearted.” She takes another drink of her juice, her painted self frowning malevolently behind her.

Since 1982, Stephanie’s work has been exhibited in various cafes and group shows throughout Toronto and performance-art venues in the U.S. Her work will be shown at Roundup.


Running between June 6th and June 14th across Toronto, Roundup is an artist-run exhibition giving artists a chance to show their work with having to depend on commercial galleries. Over 350 artists will take part this year, as compared to 78 during the first year of operation in 1987. Artists either open their studios to the public, or form collectives and share the cost of renting space. As participant Madelaine Lamont put it “Roundup is a great opportunity, especially for young artists. It gives them a sense that there’s a community they can be a part of. “Artist Heather Graham concurs, believing it is beneficial in motivating artists to display their work. “I feel like I need the exposure and feedback. That’s really healthy. In Roundup, the paintings are likely to be seen both by other artists and by people in the artist community.” Not to mention all those interested in art. Catalogues are available. The Hotline number is 961-5136

This article is reproduced with permission from the publisher, Wolfgang Dios and writer Christina Frei:

Wayfare Magazine, vol. 1, No. 3 June/July 92

© All text Copyright Christina Frei

Comments Off on Painter Stephanie Nadler: A Darkness Denied By Society more...

Research – Bibliography for Blood And Legacy

by on Mar.23, 2009, under Bibliography

Research for the Project “Based on Other Unsettling Themes”

Stephanie Nadler Bibliography 1993-1995


Abrams, Alan, Special Treatment: the Untold Story of the Survival of Thousands of Jews in Hitler’s Third Reich, 1985, Lyle Stuart Inc., Don Mills, Ontario

Adolf Hitler 1931-1935, Introduction By Rabbi Julius Rosenthal PhD, DD, Forward; Herman Goring, Test: Joseph Goebbels, Robert Ley, Albert Speer, Baldue von Schhrach, Fritz Todt, Otto Petrich, Rudolf Hess, 1987, Peebles Press International Inc., New York, NY

Berenbaum, Michael, The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1993, Little Brown and Company, Toronto, Ontario

Blatter, Janet and Sybil Milton, Art of the Holocaust, (Preface by Irving Howe), 1981, The Rutledge Press, New York, NY

Brecher, Elinor J., Schindler’s Legacy: True Stories of the List Survivors, (With a foreword by Thomas Keneally), 1993, Penguin books, New York, NY

Chicago, Judy, Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, (With photography by Donald Woodman), 1993, Penguin Books, New York, NY

Dimont, M.I., Jews, God and History, 1964, Dutton Press, London, England

Eliach, Yaffa, Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust: The First Original Hasidic Tales in a Century, 1982, Oxford University Press, New York, NY

Epstein, Isidore, Judaism, 1959, Penguin books, London, England

Felstiner, Mary Lowenthal, To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era, 1994, HarperCollins, New York, NY

Fogelman, Eva, Conscience & Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, 1994, Anchor Books-Doubleday, New York, NY

Frank, Anne, The Diary of a Young Girl, 1967, Doubleday, New York, NY

Frankle, Victor, Man’s Search for Meaning: an Introduction to Logotherapy , 1965, Pocket Books, New York, NY

Georg, Willy, In the Warsaw Ghetto Summer 1941: Photographs by Willy Georg, with passages from Warsaw Ghetto Diaries, (Rafael f, Scharf- Compiler), 1993, Aperture Foundation Inc. New York, NY

Henry, Frances, Victims and Neighbors: A Small Town In Nazi Germany Remembered, (Foreword by Willy Brandt), 1985, Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Inc., Boston, Mass

Herman, Yechiel, Personal Excerpts from “The Pincus of the Red Shul” Edited by Joyce Herman Nadler, 1994, Montreal, Quebec

Hoss, Rudolph, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz, Edited by Steven Paskuly, 1992, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY

Keneally, Thomas, Schindler’s List: A Novel, 1993, Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, NY

Lanzmann, Claude, Shoah: An Oral History of the Holocaust, (the complete text of the film/preface by Simone de Beauvour) 1985, Pantheon Books, New York, NY

Levi, Primo, If Not Now, When? , 1986, Penguin Books, New York, NY

Levi, Primo, The Drowned and the Saved, 1988, Summit Books, New York, NY

Levi, Primo, The Reawakening, 1965, Little Brown and Company, Boston, Mass.

Levin, Ira, The Boys from Brazil: A Novel, 1976, Random House, New York, NY

Lifton, Robert Jay, The Nazi Doctors: Medical killing and Psychology of Genocide, 1986, Basic Books, USA

Nicholas, Lynn H., The Rape of Europa: The Rape of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War, 1995, vintage Books, New York, NY

Passages from Warsaw Ghetto Diaries, Compiled and with an afterword by Rafael F. Scharf, 1993, Aperture, New York, NY

Reifenstahl, Leni, A Memoir, 1992, St, Martin’s Press, New York, NY

Rol, ruud van der and Rian Verhoeven, Anne Frank, Beyond the Diary: A Photographic Remembrance, Introduction by Anna Quindlen, 1993, Penguin books, USA Inc.

Spiegelman, Art, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale II, And Here My troubles Began, 1991, Pantheon Books, New York, NY

Styron, William, Sophie’s Choice, 1979, Random House, New York, NY

Tomaszewiski, Irene and Tecia Werbowski, Zegota: The Rescue of Jews in Wartime Poland, 1994, Price-Patterson Ltd, Montreal, Quebec

Voices From the Holocaust, Edited by Sylvia Rothchild, (with a Foreword by Elie Weisel), 1981, Noonday Press, New York, NY

Yonge, James E. (Editor), The Art of Memory: Holocaust memorials In History, 1994, Prestel-Verlag, New York, NY


Ryback, Timothy W., “Evidence of Evil”(As Auschwitz disintegrates, survivors and historians face difficult questions about how to preserve its memory) Reporter at Large, The New Yorker. November 15 1993

Spiegleman, Art, “Maus”, RAW Magazine, chapter 1-4, 1986-1991, Penguin Books, New York, NY


Blair, Jon, Schindler: His Story As Told by the Actual People He Saved, AThames Television Production, London

Golan, Menahem, Hanna’s War, 1988, Cannon Films, Israel

Holland, Abramowsky, Europa, Europa, 1991, France

Muller, Ray, The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Reifenstahl, cocumentary film, 1993

Speilberg, Steven, Schindler’s List, 1993, MCA-Universal, USA

The Art Gallery of Ontario: Yiddish Film Festival, videos on ghettos in Eastern Europe during World War II, June 1993

Toronto Jewish Film Festival: May 4-11 1995:

Corti, Axel, Woman’s Pale Blue Handwriting, 1984, Austria

Curt Faudon, Crosstown Sabbath, (Based on a book by Frederic Morton), 1994, Austria/USA

Danquart, Pepe, Black Rider(Schwarzfaher), 1993, Switzerland/Germany

Dugowson, Martine, Mina Tannenbaum, 1993, France

Gitai, Amos, Berlin Jerusalem, 1989, France/Israel

Walker, John, Hidden Children, 1994, Canada


United States

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. Spring 1995

The Jewish Museum, New York, New York

Israel: 1992

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jerusalem

Jerusalem Tower Museum, Old City Jerusalem

Masada: Archeological site, Masada, Dead Sea

Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv

University of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv


May 1-3, 1995

Articulations of History: Issues in Holocaust Representation, Conference, Boston, Mass

Comments Off on Research – Bibliography for Blood And Legacy : more...

About Sketchbook

by on Mar.23, 2009, under About My Sketch Book

Welcome to select examples from my little 3.5 x 5.5 inches Moleskin sketchbook

I have to admit I have been having a lot of fun and am enjoying the intimacy of making these little drawings.

It’s a great opportunity to explore new directions and approaches in my imagery.

It’s fun to see these little renderings blown up on the computer screen.

Comments Off on About Sketchbook more...


by on Mar.23, 2009, under About Dogs, Dreams...

Dogs, Dreams and People: is the title of a body work that was painted during a three year period from 1990 to 1992.

The creation of these oil paintings comes from a need to express an inner turmoil through a visual medium: the art represents the struggle for harmony against the increasingly fragmented external world.

The struggle to develop as a woman and as an individual also helps shape the content. The work is inspired by conflict; it is violent, angry and at times bloody. The bloody violence of the attack and the moments before death are also depicted.

Although many paintings in this group have a dark, mysterious and frightening quality, there are examples where hope through strength, tenderness and independence exists.

The nature of most of the imagery is deeply personal. The images come from internal sources: dreams and the subconscious. There is a juiciness and vibrancy in the subject and in the paint.

The work is both challenging and powerful.

Comments Off on About more...

The Sketches

by on Mar.22, 2009, under Drawings From Sketch Book

Here are my sketch book drawings from my little Moleskin sketch book.

Comments Off on The Sketches more...

About Blood And Legacy: Understanding The Final Solution

by on Mar.20, 2009, under About

Stephanie Nadler explores the subject of genocide in this series of paintings. She received a Canada Council Grant in 1994 to research and then to paint about the events of the Holocaust before and during World War II.

The legacy of this history has haunted her all her life. In 1992, she went to live in Israel to learn about her roots; touring ancient historical sites, studying Hebrew and exploring contemporary culture. She spent many days drawing at Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Jerusalem. The experience influenced her to spend years searching through books, documents and films. Returning to North America, she also had the opportunity to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and to attend the Conference: Articulations of History: Issues in Holocaust Representation in Boston, Massachusetts.

Nadler’s conclusions are devastating, yet her paintings reveal an unusual response.  The images defy the typical depiction of the victimisation of the European Jewish population:

The figures are portrayed vibrantly. These are not the muted washes, nor are they the monochromatic images that most of us have become accustomed to.  Nadler paints this series with anger and power while honouring the memory of those who have died and survived.

1 Comment : more...

Dogs, Dreams And People

by on Mar.20, 2009, under Dogs, Dreams And People

Comments Off on Dogs, Dreams And People : more...

Sketch Book Drawings

by on Mar.20, 2009, under Sketch Book

Here's my sketch book drawings from my little Moleskin sketch book.

Comments Off on Sketch Book Drawings more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...


All entries, chronologically...