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Stephen Newton – A Retrospective Exhibition.

“Tonight was a preview evening for the latest exhibition at Abbey Walk, Lincolnshire’s leading contemporary art gallery, and it’s a retrospective look at the work of painter Stephen Newton. Reviewing an art exhibition is not always the easiest of tasks but in this case it couldn’t be simpler – stunning!”

Rod Collins
Rod Collins – Click to visit.


Artlyst Review.

“The 20th and 21st Centuries taught us that humanity has a limitless capacity for malice and catastrophe, and this exhibition proves that painting has an inexhaustible ability to capture every nuance of life in any epoch. In the gallery’s atrium is Stephen Newton’s beguiling Room at Night (2003), a large canvas loaded with thick layers of paint in the manner of Kiefer. That claustrophobic scene, pregnant with possibility and emotion, reminds us that painting is every bit as timeless as human error.”

Dr Daniel Barnes @PaintBritain, Ipswich Art School Gallery.

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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 or visit

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.


Life in the Abstract

“I soon ran out of shapes and turned instead to the real world…”

This extraordinary and controversial exhibition of paintings that opens this weekend, follows immediately on from Newton’s highly successful showing at The London Art Fair last week. His work attracted much attention in London and amongst the many sales work was purchased by The Serpentine Gallery.

Newton’s images repay close scrutiny for what at first might seem the work of an untrained and primitive artist slowly reveals content of great intelligence and depth reflecting Newtons unique and individual approach to making his own particular spatial environments.

Stephen Newton is the highly acclaimed author of three books which relate psychoanalysis to art, spirituality and primitivism. Copies of his books can be viewed and purchased at the gallery during the exhibition.

Running alongside this one-person exhibition gallery two has a small and very select exhibition of work by Russell Lumb, Bren Head and Janet Cox. The gallery also contains a small group of ceramic works from gallery artists.

The exhibition runs until March 3rd and the gallery is open Friday to Sunday each week from 11am to 4pm. Access at other times can be made through prior arrangement with Studio Eleven.

The show includes a mixed – media collection by Eleven Gallery Artists.

Visit the Studio 11 Gallery here.