The journal - October 2014 - Title

The Journal – Oct 2014.

The journal - October 2014

A painter who captures life in abstract is the focus of our October column from ELAINE MUNSON AND GILL GIBBON, the owners of Grimsby’s Abbey Walk Gallery …

As human beings, we are mysterious creatures, but what makes us tick — our hopes, desires. our fears and secret pains —is what bonds us together. Viewing the work of Stephen Newton, you place yourself amid his scenes of solitude and isolation, where the mind is cast into the contemplation of the human condition and eternal things. However, Stephen feels his work “is an expression” and doesn’t stem from a set idea.

“My paintings never refer to a specific place that could actually be located. They don’t have any narratives or symbolism or anything to do with dreams or memories, or any other agendas of any sort.”

His attitude towards his work is clear, as it is not just an extension of him, but something bigger. Stephen has exhibited extensively
throughout Europe, America and the UK. The latest acquisition of his work is Room With A View Of Cliffs, now housed at the Madison Museum of Fine Art, America.

As well as being a nationally and internationally-acclaimed artist, he is also a highly commended author with a distinguished academic career.

Stephen lives between London and Grimsby, where his studio is based. He paints in Lincolnshire because of the light.

He buys his paint by the litre, opens the tins so the evaporative effect causes premature thickening and thus he is able to lay down those remarkably thick layers of texture. In fact, you are immediately struck by this assertion of surface and its materiality which come from the artist’s exploration of the processes of painting and his subconscious.

Stephen’s paintings portray compelling elemental images — odd objects and parts of buildings, walls, staircases, chairs and
windows, images that are raw and uncompromising, a reminder to the viewer of how buildings encapsulate our hopes and fears on many levels.

“Many have told me that they are somehow moved by my work or that the image becomes stuck in their head — but they don’t know why. There doesn’t appear to be any obvious reason for this, which can itself be paradoxical or disturbing.”

His paintings are a combination of figuration and abstraction, creating a subtle provocative tension between the bold formal qualities and the often intimate figurative content that emerge through their abstract layers. Stephen subverts the recognisable and allows the familiar to become strange through odd juxtapositions and details.

Ultimately, however, his paintings leave the viewer to
develop their own meanings out of layered images and illogical compositions.

Stephen has several exhibitions in the pipeline, as well as a solo show at Hastings, he will be part of two group shows at Ipswich Museum And Art Gallery and Huddersfield Art Gallery.

Stephen will also be represented in January 2015 at the London Contemporary Art Fair, by Abbey Walk Gallery.

■ For further information, contact Gill or Elaine on +44(0)1472 241007, email art@abbeywalkgallery.com or visit www.abbeywalkgallery.com

Room with a View of Cliffs

Madison Museum of Fine Art

Stephen Newton’s 2013 work ‘Room with a View of Cliffs’ has been chosen by the Madison Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta – Georgia USA to feature in it’s innovative exhibition programming.

The Museum collection includes paintings, sculpture, prints, and ceramics from around the world. The Museum’s print collection now includes works by Picasso, Dali, Chagall, and Roualt.

While Newton’s work is interpreted in many different ways by many different observers, refreshingly in his own words, Newton provides the following rare personal insight in to this specific work:

My paintings never refer to a specific place that could actually be located somewhere. They don’t have any narratives or symbolism or anything to do with dreams or memories, or any other agendas of any sort. One New York critic used the term ‘stultifying indifference’ to describe them, which I think he meant as a compliment – I certainly took it as one (1). Nevertheless, my painting does deal in emotion and tries to intuitively pinpoint emotions and transfer them to the viewer. Many have told me that they are somehow moved by my work or that the image becomes stuck in their head – but they don’t know why. There doesn’t appear to be any obvious reason for this, which can itself be paradoxical or disturbing.

Room with a View of Cliffs is an interior, a psychic interior as much as one that depicts a room. There are only interior or exterior spaces – you are inside or outside; things are either within you or without you. At the core of all my painting is the usually unacknowledged human predicament, so there must be isolation, some barrenness; we are all ultimately alone and of course sooner or later, absolutely alone.

All of my work is seen through an abstract lens. My latest tour in England was called Life in the Abstract. I believe for reasons that I have been writing about for many years that an abstract template is closer to real emotion, that abstracted work somehow distils and intensifies emotion. After all, the overwhelming preponderance of art over the last 50,000 years has been to a degree abstracted and disfigured and it is this abstract essence that can register such an authentic emotional power.

In Room with a View of Cliffs there was however one concession to reality. A few years ago my youngest son bought me a large book on poison frogs, mainly found in South American jungles. Their markings are truly wondrous to behold. One thing is for sure, conceptual art will never compete with nature. The settee and the table in the painting take their markings from a poison frog in that book.

  1. Donald Kuspit: The Post-Modern Icon – Stephen Newton’s Post-Abstract Paintings. In Stephen Newton – Paintings and Drawings 1997-2000 pp.i-ix. (Ziggurat Books, London, 2000).

 

Stephen Newton (2014)

Ray Masters

A catalogue piece written by Ray Masters for a show I did in Lincoln in 1986.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

A great tutor and friend who sadly passed away recently.  He will be greatly missed.

Steve Newton.

 

Window on to a Street.

Abbey Walk Winter Exhibition Review 2013.

“I enjoyed the exhibition, an interesting array of styles, mediums and artists. I did find myself particularly transfixed though.
The oil paintings by Stephen Newton . . . simply stunning, I simply couldn’t stop looking at Window onto a Street with the nagging question of ‘what makes this so good?’

I’m not going to try and define Stephen Newton’s work, it’s beyond my expertise and vocabulary – I can’t even tell you what makes them so good in layman’s terms, all I can say is they bowled me over – simply stunning.”

– Rod Collins.

Studio 11 Gallery – Hull. The New City of Culture 2017.

The moment Hull was recently named the UK’s next City of Culture, beating Leicester, Dundee and Swansea Bay to the right to hold the title in 2017, Stephen Newton was invited to exhibit his work in the cutting edge contemporary gallery at Studio 11.

Studio 11 fronts Humber Street close to Hull Marina and in the heart of the  Fruitmarket cultural quarter. It is a short walk from the spectacular Deep, Ferens Art Gallery and the old High Street museum area and close to the Humber estuary.

Newton’s work will be exhibited from 25th January – 2nd March 2014.

Abbot Hall Gallery - Cumbria

Abbot Hall Gallery, Cumbria.

Stephen Newton’s drawing accepted in to Abbot Hall Gallery collection.

The Gallery is housed in one of Kendal’s most important buildings, a Grade I listed villa, on the banks of the River Kent. The galleries offer two floors of light-filled spaces in which to see art.

Abbot Hall has a comprehensive collection of George Romney’s work. His paintings are hung in the elegant historical settings for which they were painted, amongst fine 18th-century furniture and porcelain.

Watercolours are shown in a small gallery reminiscent of a collector’s private room, with regularly changing displays that allow a Turner to be seen alongside a Ruskin or a Constable sketch next to works by the likes of Cotman, Cozens and Edward Lear.

Abbot Hall has been one of the most active galleries collecting British art in recent years and important works have been acquired, ranging from a Turner watercolour of Windermere to portraits by Stanley Spencer and abstract paintings by Bridget Riley and Sean Scully. Abbot Hall has also secured some spectacular long-term loans, including works by Constable, L. S. Lowry and Lucian Freud.

As well as a fine permanent collection, Abbot Hall is acknowledged as having one of the most imaginative and independently minded temporary exhibition programmes outside London.

drawing-23x33in-2002-pencil-and-wax-crayon

Newton’s Drawing in Pencil & Oil Wax Crayon accepted in to the Abbott Hall Gallery collection.

For more information on Abbot Hall Gallery click here.

 

Rugby Art Gallery

Rugby Art Gallery.

Stephen Newton’s Drawing has been accepted in to the Rugby Art Gallery collection of Works on Paper.

newton-11-13-18-2

newton-11-13-18-2

The Gallery holds a significant collection of 20th Century British painting, including major works by artists such as Kossof, Freud (work on paper), Hambling, Wood, Wyndham Lewis, Craigie Aitchison, L S Lowrey, Stanley Spenser, Bridget Riley (work on paper), Paula Rego and Barbara Hepworth.

 

 

Museum Collection of 21st Century British Painting.

Stephen Newton’s painting: Self-Portrait by a Mirror (60x54in) 2011, has been included in the new museum collection of 21st Century British Painting at Swindon Art Gallery.

2011

Self-Portrait by a Mirror (60x54in) 2011

Robert Priseman generously commented to Stephen Newton: ‘It was on seeing your stunning work at UCS that we gained the confidence to propose you again
for this second collection.’

Work in new East Contemporary Arts Collection.

Three works have been included in the New East Contemporary Arts Collection at the Waterfront Gallery of the University Campus Sussex. They are:

2003

Room at Night (76x110in) 2003

Window (38x40in) 2000

Window (38x40in) 2000

Woman Resting at Night (48x42in) 2012

Woman Resting at Night (48x42in) 2012

 

The curator Robert Priseman says:
‘The East Contemporary Art Collection is home to some of the very best contemporary art held in East Anglia. It provides a gateway for anyone who wishes to see some of the finest examples of work by artists of national and international importance living and working in the East of England today.’
Also, the painting: Self-Portrait by a Mirror (60x54in) 2011, has been included in the new museum collection of 21st Century British Painting at Swindon Art Gallery. Robert Priseman generously commented to Stephen Newton: ‘It was on seeing your stunning work at UCS that we gained the confidence to propose you again
for this second collection.’

Upcoming Exhibitions.

CAMBRIDGE CITY ART FAIR:
14th-17th November 2013.
Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge CB2 3QJ.
Abbey Walk Gallery, Stand 24.

LONDON ART FAIR 2014:
Islington 2014 with Abbey Walk Gallery.