Visible Traces offers an alternative showing of works by Ian Stephenson (1934-2000) in the context of a select group show. Stephenson was a pioneering English abstract artist who characteristically splattered colours in layers towards obliteration. His work featured in Antonioni’s film Blow Up (1966), an iconic vision of London in the swinging sixties. The film’s aura of elegance and cool was transferred onto the artist and made him fashionable, but obscured the serious intent behind his lifelong investigation into visual density.
“Countless happenings in time present as one simultaneous expression. Emptiness filled with matter. Solids filled with space.” Andrew Forge (The Independent, 2000)
Curators Julian Page and Joanna Bryant seek to provide new insights into this underrated artist, by contextualising his work with that of three emerging artists. A series of his experimental prints are shown alongside sculptures by Jayne Wilton, paintings by Robinson/McMahon and photographs by Elizabeth Hayley. Visible Traces draws attention to Stephenson’s work in a new, contemporary context and suggests links between these diverse artists and one of the pioneers of British 60’s abstract art.