The focus is dedicated to the American artist BRIAN KEITH STEPHENS, a true artist that transfers his emotions directly through his artworks. Simple images of animals and of the people that he loves, placed on abstract backgrounds created by overlays of large frantic brush strokes, assume an iconic value in his paintings.
He has been exhibiting in important solo shows and group exhibitions in the United States and in Europe since 1999.
In the month of December he will exhibit his artworks at Lyman Allyn Museum in New London (Connecticut – USA).
Let’s begin the journey into Brian Keith Stephens’ art by watching these two videos he made with his wife and artist Pola Esther!
1. Brian Keith Stephens, Video Pool Party in NYC
2. Brian Keith Stephens, Video I believe in miracles
Brian Keith Stephens invites us to share his vision of the vast dominion of small but profound marvels that occur unceasingly all around us. His paintings seek to remind us of an age-old dialogue with the cosmos that many of us have forsaken – an intimate and timeless conversation between present and past, the close-at-hand and the unfathomably distant, the trivial and the essential. Just behind the illusory veil of mundane life, he suggests, there lurks a magical dimension coextensive with our own, one gravid with life-affirming wonders.
Brian Keith Stephens in his studio
Animals, nature, and the people closest to Stephens have always been the fundamental units of his private visual language, but he has used these subjects as the catalyst for an explication of his own reflections on more profound and universal subjects. Many of his canvases are bright and joyous in a way that transcends everyday reality; their intense colors and mottled backgrounds situate the figures in an atemporal space more reminiscent of the undying plane of spirit than of Stephens’s Connecticut home (the unearthly gold backdrops of Byzantine mosaics come to mind, or Giotto’s intense, bluer-than-blue skies, so suggestive of the eternal coincidence of heaven and earth). Amid these vibrant, shimmering backgrounds, his owls, pigs, sea creatures, and denizens of the African veldt look almost like contemporary remixes of the bold and perennially spellbinding murals of Lascaux and Altamira. A few of his works delve more directly into the primordial, suggesting a glimpse into the transtemporal universe of folktales and fables.
Brian Keith Stephens, I’m going to set you free, 2017, olio su tela, 65×80 cm
Other paintings juxtapose wild animals with a playful masquerading female figure who serves here as Stephens’s image of the eternal lover and the captivating other. She can adopt a wide range of personae alongside her untamed companions: sunbather, seductress, dancer, model, pinup, sibyl, sprite. Each pairing seems to hint at the near-infinite variety of marvelous beasts—ourselves included—that the living cosmos has cast up into the light from the depths of its irrepressibly creative spirit. The juxtaposition of nature and culture is a subtle key to the deeper meaning of every work: there is something profound and mysterious that binds all of us together across the apparent gulfs between species and states of being. We are all players in life’s neverending spectacle: we are animal, we are magical, and we are all moving forward together, linked inextricably to one another. Love in its myriad forms is the vital medium that binds these images together and animates them. It’s the same love that has been treated with deep reverence and awe by mystics, mythmakers and storytellers since time immemorial, and has often been deemed the very force that binds together Creation itself. Each of Stephens’ canvases is a small act of pure passion, and as such each stands as an emissary of the life’s unexpected blissful miracles, great and small.
Brian Keith Stephens was born in 1973 in Maryland (USA). After studying at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art in Connecticut (USA) he continues his training in New York. Since 2000 he has exhibited in important solo shows and group exhibitions in the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, Holland, Bulgaria and Italy. He lives and works between Old Lye (Connecticut – USA) and Brooklyn (NYC – USA).