Fine artist Christopher Stevens is subject leader in Painting at the University of Brighton.
His practice, spanning painting, drawing, photography, animation and video, seeks to redefine painting as a way of thinking specific to the physicality of the medium. His work has won numerous national awards.
Fine artist Christopher Stevens is subject leader in Fine Art Painting. His practice, spanning painting, drawing, photography, animation and video, seeks to redefine painting as a way of thinking specific to the physicality of the medium. His work has won numerous national awards.
Christopher Stevens lecturers in Fine Art Painting. Since graduating from Brighton in 1981 his work has been exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad, winning prizes in numerous national art exhibitions that include: 1981 Humberside Print Competition (First Prize); 1984 Television South West Arts National Art Competition (Major Prize Winner); 1985 John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 14 (Prize Winner); 1995 Nat West 90’s Prize for Art (2nd Prize); 1995 B.P. Portrait Award (Travel Award Winner).
In 1993 he was shortlisted for the post of official war artist in the Bosnian conflict by the Imperial War Museum. More recently he has been funded by ETA and through two major awards from the Arts Council of England, to develop his work in both painting and digital animation. Throughout his career as an artist he has remained committed to realist painting as an ongoing and vital artistic practice. His work is represented in London by Mummery+Schnelle.
Christopher Stevens' work is an ongoing exploration into the ways that realist painting, as both a medium and practice, might continue to contribute to how we apprehend the world. This has led him into an area of discussion that centres on issues of language and representation, and whether painting should be defined more as a practice - a unique way of thinking - than by its finished results.
Stevens considers all of his works to be paintings, whether they are painted or appear as videos, drawings, photographs or animations. Recently, Stevens has begun to use psychoanalysis as a model, which might parallel the process of artistic creation and production.
“We always speak in several languages at once. The dominant one is, of course, our verbal and written language, but in close communication this is augmented by our gestures, tone of voice, our facial expression, even the clothes we wear. Each modifies the messages we deliver using other elements of this composite. By putting together all of these apparently disparate elements of my work, rather in the same way a psychoanalyst might begin to piece together a narrative, not just from the meanings of words said, but also taking interest in their delivery, the puns and slips of the tongue, the tone of voice, apparently chance juxtapositions, I could see a narrative emerging that hinted at all my ideas, concerns, feelings, without the artificiality of setting out to create a coherent statement based on linearity or logic. Furthermore these meanings have become apparent as much through juxtaposition between works, where it is not only the subjects that create these relationships but the differing media and manner through which their content is manifest.”
What now constitutes ‘local’ includes images spanning horizons that stretch from our own interiors to the farthest regions of space.
Everything is open to interpretation: words develop additional meanings, both through common use and the further overlaying of personal associations
Looked at the notion of our apparently omnipotent abilities to apprehend the whole of creation through the virtual realities of the screens we use
'Somewhere Else' continued Stevens' exploration of how painting could possibly continue to find a valid way of representing the whole world
Stevens, Christopher (2010) Convection drawings [Artefact]
Stevens, Christopher (2009) Unstable II [Artefact]
Stevens, Christopher (2008) The Anatomy Lesson [Artefact]
Stevens, Christopher (2006) Cafe Delight Mummery and Schnelle, London, UK.
Chris Stevens is developing two new series of works: Unstable and Café Delight. Both have evolved from ideas conceived in the production of Somewhere Else, but unlike this preceding suite, these works use paint solely as subject rather than medium. Unstable is the title for a set of drawings and Café Delight is the umbrella name for a group of digital stop-frame animations. Both groupings deal with notions of immersion in relation to a substance/medium, looking at the idea of paint as a language and how use of a particular medium affects its users thought processes. These works are also the starting point for a new set of concerns for Stevens regarding possible links between our desires to order/systematise and to embellish. So far, works from these series have been shown in the following exhibitions:
CMYK, a body of 16 paintings on paper that took as their subject the representation of audiences within newspaper reproductions, their role in the authentication of events, especially in relation to photographic verity, and how these relationships could be interrogated through their re-rendition in paint. This series was exhibited in a solo exhibition at Upstairs at the Clerks House Gallery, Shoreditch High St, London. 2nd September - 10th October 1999.
The Constellations of Coming and Going, a diptych created as a response to Watteau's paintings: The Embarkation for Cythera, exploring the premise that Watteau's creation of the Féte Gallante genre, during a time of political and social uncertainty following one of stability, is key to providing a mirror for our current social climate. These works were shown in the group exhibition: The Embarkation for Cythera held at the Andrew Mummery Gallery, 63 Compton Street, London 30 January - 2 March, 2002. The paintings were subsequently purchased by the British Government Art Collection and currently hang in the British Embassy in Paris. The Constellations of Coming and Going were an important precursor to the following series:
Invited to exhibit work in, or work selected for, the following exhibitions: