Viewfinder

Viewfinder

Stevens’ painting maintains a consistently high standard. Having chosen a demanding area in which to work, she has established a recognizable style that she continues to develop in a considered and unhurried manner. Right from the start she has included lines in her compositions, energizing the space. Her first coloured works in 1999 contained small rectangular patches that were noticeably lighter than the rest of the surface. These could be seen as lighted windows in a building, or reflections off glass in daylight. In 2000 Stevens introduced lines onto the surfaces, but in a personal manner that she has employed ever since. Rather than paint lines over her colour, she masks out the lines, applies the colour, removes the tape and then gently flicks the still-wet paint over the blank areas. This creates the optical illusion that the lines have a thickness, like a half cylinder, whereas in fact they have no thickness, being below rather than above the rest of the paint. Lighter patches of paint are subtly retained in the “background”, avoiding a monocolour effect.

The lines were applied originally vertically and diagonally in such a way as to create a sense of depth, like a perspective drawing of a 3D structure. Although abstract, the lines could suggest such things as walls, windows, or paved floors seen from an oblique angle. The lines also suggested the grids of profiles and steel rods seen on a construction site. In 2006 Stevens introduced curved lines into her work, again adopting an original approach. She drew out her preliminary sketches on perfect grids as she had done before, but on mylar which could be rolled into a cylinder. Photographs of the curving lines were then used as the basis for a new series of paintings.

Recently Stevens has been experimenting with overlaid glazes of different colours in the foreground and background grids, and employing a more distorted foreground grid. In this latest series of works this grid is dominant, giving the paintings a more active feel akin to 1950s European abstraction.

Warwick Brown
July 2008

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