University Museums

Title: Big Fish
Name: Mixed media
Date: 2010
Medium: Oil, glass on curved wood panel
Country/Culture: American
Dimensions: 62 × 25 × 7 1/4 in. (157.5 × 63.5 × 18.4 cm)
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Gift of the artist. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: UM2015.18
More Information
Jungian dream imagery, spiritual psychology, and historical aesthetics of the Catholic tradition are the major forces behind the paintings of Wendy S. Rolfe. The sense of antiquity along with an luminescent painterly effect lend a Baroque feel to her execution. Rolfe’s depiction of figures, animals, and landscape are reminiscent of the sacred metaphor within religious paintings combined with chaotic dreamscapes. Rolfe’s interest lies in observing the mind’s resistance to present awareness and the evident effects beyond these blocks on our perspective, attitudes, and vision. After studying in San Francisco and France, she then obtained a B.F.A. from the Parsons School of Design in New York City where she lived for 13 years as an illustrator. She settled in Iowa and continued her travels to Europe, Central America, and Mexico, where she was influenced by the art of Latin America and the Italian Renaissance. Of late, her art has developed further in its introspective examination of the mind’s ability for enlightenment. Rolfe’s paintings can be found in numerous private and corporate collections. The inherent beauty, unique symbolism, and dreamlike quality of her paintings continue to garner her attention and interest throughout Iowa and nationally.