eye of the black bird

11 Feb 2011 – 5 Mar 2011

Event times

Wed — Fri, 3 — 6pm; Sat & Sun, 1 — 6pm, and by appointment

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 47, 75, 122, 136, 185, 199, 208, 284, 484, P4
  • Overground: to New Cross/New Cross Gate then 136 bus to Ladywell.
  • Approximately 15 minutes from central London, frequent service to Ladywell Station from Charing Cross, London Bridge and Waterloo East

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Stephen Lee & Maria Chevska


Landscape and painting, expanded in terms of materiality and metaphor is the point of departure for this collaborative exhibition over two floors in an old carriage house in South London. The country and the city are thematically inter-woven in an elaborate upstairs/ downstairs dialogue. Maria Chevska's painted cobblestones displayed in the ground floor gallery refer to the materiality of the street. Retrieved from just below the surface of the road, these slightly subterranean objects have considerable gravity as paintings. The painted stripes on the surface of the stones are records of palettes used on her main body of paintings. The cobblestones therefore act as a storage or file-code of colours. They also form a direct connection between the art produced in the studio and the urban landscape. The title, eye of the black bird, is a fragment of a poem by Wallace Stevens that provides the common ground of modernism, language and materiality for the collaboration. The poem is described by Maria Chevska thus: ‘I enjoy the poem's proposal of ordering the world and it's sensations (Art), even if compressed into haiku-like form which amongst all its other qualities contains humour'. The upstairs gallery houses Stephen lee's juxtapositions of Plein- Air landscape painting of countryside with sculpted animals, human forms and objects. Characterised by a feeling of light, air and space, the work has the structural appearance of a poem of objects, clustered across continuous shelving. Closely tied to literary qualities of narrative and time, intrinsic to landscape, Lee describes his choice of subject matter: ‘I am particularly interested in places where human activity and objects interact with the surrounding environment to create a heightened sense of time as metaphor. This could be for example, a group of people fishing and picnicking by a river, a train-line, canal or motorway connecting to the city like a vein or a post-industrial zone, which has been partly re-absorbed into surrounding fields like a ruin'.


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