In Rocks Remember STEPHENS continues to explore how our personal and collective histories are etched into the world we have built for ourselves. What can the architecture of our cities tell us about who we are today and where we have come from? We are now more efficiently synthesising and manipulating the natural world than ever before, constantly striving towards an urban perfection. But is it bringing us closer as a society or are we increasingly isolated, detached from one another and the world beyond our cities?
The main gallery space is occupied by a series of angular metal structures each bearing an asymmetrical plaster form that makes reference to the crystalline structure of ilmenite: a rock native to Norway but also found in lunar rock, from which titanium is produced. These objects appear to rest precariously on delicate metal stands, their ordered alignment alluding to the patterns within nature's chaos. STEPHENS’ sculptures begin with a two-dimensional image that forms the underpinning skeleton from which to make architectonic structures. Each work evolves through a series of stages, with successive layers gaining density until the final form emerges, coherent and cogent.
On the gallery wall, a large photographic silkscreen depicts a Norwegian fjord famous for the giant geological platform known as the Pulpit Rock. The image was taken by the artist during her residency and appropriated to reference ilmenite’s molecular structure. Pieces of the ilmenite rock - brought back from Norway to the gallery - anchor the exhibition in the natural world, with the rest of the work extrapolating out from that axis.