Arts & Culture

Boise Art Museum exhibits one of ‘Idaho’s most important artists’ through Oct. 13

Artist Stephanie Wilde never shies away from troubling, difficult subjects. In fact, she uses their complexity to feed and influence her amazingly intricate artwork. Their beauty and allure draw you in, but belie their gravity. Her sometimes haunting images give you pause to reflect and think — and feel.

Wilde, an artist and the co-owner of Boise’s Stewart Gallery, has been creating her series on topics ranging from AIDS to corporate greed from her Boise home for more than 40 years. She is one of the most respected artists in Idaho, and with a growing international following, she can be considered one of the state’s — if not the region’s — most important.

Her exhibit “Introspective” is on display at the Boise Art Museum through Sunday, Oct. 13.

This retrospective of her work goes back to the 1980s, with her series on the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and Africa. It also includes her series on corporate greed created after the Enron debacle; on climate change, explored through the shrinking bee population; and on the current political and social polarization.

Queen, Drones and Workers (triptych-full).jpg
Stephanie Wilde’s “Queen of Drones,” ink, acrylic and gold leaf on museum board, is part of a tryptic for her series that explores climate change through the disappearing population of the Western Bee. Provided by the Boise Art Museum

Wilde explores these topics by reaching into history to find parallels. For example, comparing AIDS to the Black Death plagues in the 14th century, or making the connection between today’s polarization and issues such as slavery and the politicization of women’s bodies.

Yet, she takes these difficult subjects and from them evokes a rich iconography and deep, poetic beauty.

On a technical level, her work is amazing to view because the detail she gives each piece is so intense, the museum provides large magnifying glasses to view the work closely.

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Wilde’s work has earned her the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2002 and a Boise Mayor’s Award for Artistic Excellence in 1999. She is collected nationally and internationally by the Boise Art Museum, England’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, and the William Louis-Dreyfus Family Foundation in New York.

Go see it

Stephanie Wilde: “Introspective,” now through Sunday, Oct. 13. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, Boise Art Museum, 670 S. Julia Davis Drive. $6 general, $4 seniors, $3 grades 1-12 and full-time college. Free for ages 5 and younger and members. Admission by donation on the First Thursday of every month. 208-345-8330,

“Precious Air”

You can see more of Wilde’s work at Stewart Gallery, which she co-owns with her husband Lane Bune, Oct. 5 to Nov. 8. “Precious Air” expands on her exploration of climate change she began with the bee series. She extends her reach to climate change’s effects on society, agriculture, and migration. The opening reception is 6-8 p.m. Oct. 5, at Stewart Gallery, 2230 W. Main St., Boise,, 208-433-0593.

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