Friday, June 24, 2011

something always happens

As an art history grad, I can make an academic argument on the merits of almost any school of art but deciding what work I bring home to my space is a much more instinctive and emotional process.   I have a particular fondness for pieces that elevate the every day as subjects. Add in a playfulness with colour, technique and media along with a dash of dreamlike nostalgia and I will be hooked.  So it's no wonder that it was love at first sight when I first saw the work of Stephen Williams a few years ago at Ingrid Muellers Art + Concepts.

Big Band

I am not alone.  He's the kind of painter who seems to inspire a sort of breathless devotion. On the eve of his latest show, I was chatting with a friend who was excitedly telling me about her latest purchase.  There's something about his energy and lightness that makes you want to surround yourself with his pieces.

Atlantic Puffins
Winner of the 2001 Fred Ross Prize for emerging artist and in 2009 winner of a province wide competition for emerging artists, Stephen is still remarkably young.  He's also remarkably self-assured about his work, in who he is and what he thinks his art should be: "Personally I have always refrained from complicated themes."  Which may, in fact, be one of the gutsiest statements one can make in the art world.

Rockwell's Greyhound

Hampton Courthous

The Burns Backyard
His latest show Something Always Happens shows an artist who continues to mature and develop while staying true to the elements that make his work instantly recognizable.

A Day at the Beach

"This body of paintings and drawings completed within the past five months reflects my place in life.  Many of those portrayed are either relatives or otherwise significant in my day to day activities, while some (strangers from found imagery) simply appeal to my mood.  I try to keep my materials simple, which reinforces the sense of ease and enjoyment I get from creating these pieces."   Stephen Williams

Country Fair
At a time where personalities often dwarf actual art and a desire to shock has become commonplace, a nice young man promoting a 'sense of ease and enjoyment' in art may be the freshest thing out there.

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