V1 Gallery is pleased to present Tangerine Society our first solo exhibition with B. Thom Stevenson. THE WORST GENERATION it reads in large stencil-like letters across an abstract background with a potted flower in the middle of the composition (The Worst Generation, 2016, 53 x 43 cm). Aesthetically a merge between a classic abstract painting and a DIY Xeroxed punk flyer, but executed in oil on canvas with a steady hand. A potential conflict of images, layers and meanings. LIBERATION B THOM STEVENSON - appears almost as a small box logo in the lower left side of a large painting (Liberation, 2017, 152 x 121 cm), the dominant figure in the work - a bootlegged Picasso head on an expressive multi coloured background. The act of combining text and image implying an illustrated idea, but here you are left with a riddle.
Conflict is natural in Stevenson’s work. Each painting deals with basic conflicts such as humankind and religion, civilization and nature, society and the individual, and probably the most ancient of them all (wo)man contra self. Archaic problems, but not old news, if we look around us. These works were created during what continues to be a tumultuous time in world history, where reality seems to be consuming itself. The parallels between the truth of now, and the fictitious future George Orwell predicted in his novel 1984, is uncanny. Orwell's dystopian future government claimed "War is peace / freedom is slavery / ignorance is strength."
We live in a time where society seems to be going backwards. Where civil and democratic rights, that cost so many lives, are revoked in a blink of an eye. Where intensive and intrusive privacy laws and surveillance have been instituted in every aspect of our private lives in the name of freedom. Where violence is a tool for peace. Where a silent majority elects officials based on campaigns of hate, alternative truths and outright lies. The paintings in Tangerine Society engage these concerns. They are dilemma paintings. They are protest paintings.
B. Thom Stevenson’s practice is cannibalistic. Utilizing Xeroxed images of paintings he has painted from Xeroxed images of drawings drafted from observation. Cycles of imagery of images of images. With each rendition mutating and decaying or ascending into new motifs. Text and imagery are culled from an eclectic selection of sources: other artists living and dead, DIY culture, American and Italian cult horror movies, vintage quilt templates, Celtic stone carvings, literature and politics. B. Thom Stevenson is a multifaceted artist that explores the gaps between cultures by boiling down their artefacts in order to juxtapose them in visually impactful dialogues. Pairing both original and sourced materials to form a unique vocabulary, B. Thom explores the use of language as imagery and pictures as communication tools. Stevenson has recently showed at Half Gallery, New York, and The Journal Gallery, New York. Stevenson (b.1985) holds a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and lives and works in New York.