Scholarly biography and interests

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.”

Featured works and projects

Distant Relations

What now constitutes ‘local’ includes images spanning horizons that stretch from our own interiors to the farthest regions of space.

Christopher Stevens: Hollywood Dawn

The Anatomy Lesson

Everything is open to interpretation: words develop additional meanings, both through common use and the further overlaying of personal associations

Christopher Stevens: Insomnia

Diary of an Omnivore

Looked at the notion of our apparently omnipotent abilities to apprehend the whole of creation through the virtual realities of the screens we use

Christopher Stevens: Anywhere and Nowhere

Somewhere Else

'Somewhere Else' continued Stevens' exploration of how painting could possibly continue to find a valid way of representing the whole world

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Cafe Delight

'Café Delight' is the title of a suite of looped, stop-frame animations of paint undergoing a range of manipulations on a glass surface.

Research activity

Repository holdings

Number of items: 4.

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.

This list was generated on Sat Nov 11 12:34:00 2017 GMT.

Further research and professional activities

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:

  • Distant Relations Mummery + Schnelle 4 March - 10 April 2010
  • Encounters With Scale (curated by Andrew Cooper and Sarah Sparkes) Portman Gallery, London (2009)
  • Drawing(s) with Dolphins (curated by Marcus Cope and Stephanie Moran) Crimes Town Gallery, London (2009)
  • Unstable - represented by Mummery and Schnelle at Pulse Art Fair Miami (2007) and Pulse Art Fair New York (2008)
  • Visions in the Nunnery Bow Arts Trust. The Nunnery, 183 Bow Rd London E3 2SJ 18th – 20th May 2007
  • Unstable. Solo exhibition at: Permanent gallery, 20 Bedford Place, Brighton. 11th November - 5th December 2006
  • Beauty and the Beast, group exhibition curated by Laura White and Richard Livingston at: the Fieldgate Gallery, 14 Fieldgate Street, London. 8 September - 1 October 2006
  • Blink - a showcase of animation works at: Gasworks, 155 Vauxhall Street, London. Screening Date: Thursday 3 August. Exhibition: 4-6 August 2006

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:

  • Diary of an Omnivore. This series of 20 paintings looked at the notion of our apparently omnipotent abilities to apprehend the whole of creation through the virtual realities of the screens we now habitually use, in relation to what constitutes real experience. The works formed a personal narrative based upon the artist's limited journey through his own immediate and mundane surroundings. The paintings were shown in the solo exhibition of the same name at the Andrew Mummery Gallery, 63 Compton Street, London 17 April - 18 May, 2002. Several of the works from this series were subsequently shown at: The Armoury Show, New York, 2002 and at Art Forum Berlin, Messe, Berlin
  • Somewhere Else, a suite of 12 paintings, continued Stevens' exploration of how painting could possibly continue to find a valid way of representing the whole world, in the face of its endless proliferation through lens-based reproductions. The works presented 12 views of the artists palette, rendered as romantic landscapes and alluded to the limitless potential paint has, while in its unused state, to act as a representative of our experiences. These works were shown in the solo exhibition of the same name held at the Andrew Mummery Gallery, Studio 1.04 - Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London 2 July - 14 August, 2004. Several of the works from this series have also been shown at Frieze Art Fair, Stand H12, London 2003, and Pulse, 69th Regiment Armory, New York 2006.

Exhibitions

Solo 

Invited to exhibit work in, or work selected for, the following exhibitions:

  • 2010: Whistling in the Dark, Permanent Gallery, Brighton
  • 2010: Distant Relations solo exhibition, Mummery and Schnelle, London

Group 

  • 2012: Now the dream is over (curated by Mimei Thompson) Blyth Gallery, Imperial College, London
  • 2011: Everyday (curated by Tony Benn) Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge
  • 2010: The Library of Babel (curated by Ellen Mara De Wachter) 176/Zabludowicz Collection, London
  • 2009: Itchy Scratchy (curated by Jason Evans) Permanent Gallery, Brighton
  • 2009: Hinterlands (curated by Tamsin Morse and Chloe Hoare) Trafalgar Works, Portslade.
  • 2009: PAINT CAN (curated by Alison Chisholm) Travelling Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 2009: Encounters With Scale (curated by Andrew Cooper and Sarah Sparkes) Portman Gallery, London
  • 2009: Drawing(s) with Dolphins (curated by Marcus Cope and Stephanie Moran) Crimes Town Gallery, London
  • 2008: Pulse, Soho Studios, Miami
  • 2008: Marmite Prize exhibition, Studio 1-1 Gallery, London
  • 2008: Pulse, Pier 40 Greenwich Village, New York

Citations and reviews

Cited in:

  • 1999, Matthew Arnatt, Upstairs at the Clerks House - Christopher Stevens C.M.Y.K. in '100 Reviews' Ed. Duncan McCorquodale London: Black Dog Publishing Limited.

Reviews

  • 3 August 2004, The Independent
  • 13 February 2002, Time Out
  • 8 May 2002, Time Out
  • 3 September 1999, Hot Tickets (Evening Standard)

Interview 

  • Interviewed by the writer Nick James for the publication: 'INTERVIEWS-ARTISTS Volume Two: Recordings 2010'. CV Publications, London 2010. Other artists interviewed in Publication Include: Jim Dine, Christopher LeBrun, Langlands and Bell, Yinka Shonibare, David Nash, Terry Setch. ISBN: 978-0-9565202-0-3.

Consultancy

  • 2006 - 2008: Invited to be (and performed as) a member of the steering group of Art at the Centre, an Arts Council England initiative developing artists roles within urban regeneration.
  • 2012: Invited to be involved in Brighton and Hove City Council social and economic impact analysis on the proposed development of Hove Station Area, following formal submission to comment on B&HCC Draft City Plan 2012.
  • 2012: Invited to become a trustee of HOUSE/AOH (Artists Open Houses (AOH) Ltd, set up to co-ordinate and promote Artists Open Houses as an artist-led festival during the annual Brighton Festival;
HOUSE, a programmed and curated visual arts event, offering commissioning opportunities to regional and international artists during the annual Brighton Festival).

Grants and awards

  • 2006: Arts Council England grant award. £5,000 awarded for development of work into digital animation and subsequent exhibition of works at Permanent Gallery, Brighton.
  • 2003: Arts Council England grant award. £10,000 awarded for production of series of paintings towards exhibition at the Andrew Mummery Gallery, London, in 2004, and accompanying artists publication.
  • 1999: ETA APDS award recipient (main scheme). £5,000 awarded for production of series of paintings and accompanying artists publication.

Juries, committees and editorial boards

  • Christopher Stevens is the director of APEC artists studios, Hove, East Sussex.
  • From 2006 to 2008 he was the sole artist member on the steering group of Art at the Centre, an Arts Council England initiative developing artists roles within urban regeneration.
         
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