Shift 2012 at Whitespace
Paintings by Kathryn Stevens
Stevens’ paintings are inspired by architecture, construction and engineering in the ever changing urban environment.
They explore the twin painterly ideals of depth (using the grid) and surface. Painting has long been concerned with the opposing positions of creating the illusion of interior depth, or denying it in favour of the two dimensional surface. Stevens’ paintings are constructions of pictorial space employing an implied three-dimensional structure on the two-dimensional plane. A tension is set up between the illusory depth of the transparent folding grids in the paintings and Stevens’ attention to surface. This tension shifts our attention between the grids, and their suggestion of a possible space, and the tactile surface that is the painting; an object in our space in the exterior world.
The paintings also explore the effect of colour on our reading of the structure present on the canvas. The colour zones in the paintings lead us in and around the structures present in the paint. The result is work that generates a sense of movement and depth, underpinned by mathematical precision.
In her current exhibition SHIFT she makes increased use of transparency to explore the relative dominance of the frameworks or grids, giving the space inside the painting a more temporary or shifting quality. This increases the emphasis on the act of looking, as our focus shifts between the multiple grids and the surface. The interface between viewer and painting is more evident: we are looking from a real space into a possible one.