Through an examination of psychoanalysis and psychometry of art, Newton has evolved a series of paintings related to primitive manic states; isolation; disassociation; loss; fear; loneliness and supplication.
Stephen Newton’s years of contemplation and engagement with painting and drawing (his art is supported by a highly reasoned theoretical position, so articulate that it has provoked numerous academic papers, lectures and publications) has resulted in a distillation of that fusion between the physical and intellectual in the creative process – the essence being a reduction to primitive, almost primeval, images of immense power.
In much of his work the sense of human isolation, ignorance, inadequacy and fragility is offered in the ‘present’ of an image, whilst the suggestion of an undefined ‘redemption’ lurks off stage (through a door or window; over the horizon; beyond a wall, in a mirror’s reflection). In Newton’s painting, this reduction to a language of the icon is supported by a symbolic use of paint. A heavy gestural and highly charged – physical, in fact – technique that results in any pictorial motif, say a building, disintegrating into an abstraction when viewed up close.
By considering the ancient motifs and visual texts of – say – cave painting, one can begin to approach and understand Newton’s work. It is interesting to note when considering wall painting and pre-historic drawings that, contrary to common understanding, individual pictures were repeatedly ‘added to’. Pictorial elements were superimposed – one on top of another – with impunity, often over tremendous periods of time. The Giant Horse Cave at Cape York Peninsular, Australia (20th millennium BC) would be a good example of this. Here, as in many other works from pre-history, there is a total absence of the tenet of a ‘unique’ work of art, or a ‘finished’ work of art – barely conceivable today. Pre-historic peoples did not quest for vanitas, for beauty, but rather aimed to document the complex social and spiritual code within which they existed. For Newton, the paramount consideration is the authenticity of an image by which it reconciles its meaning with a deeper, almost subliminal, spirituality – it is with this that the artist attempts to imbue each individual painting, to generate a relevance and a universal resonance.
The new Priesman-Seabrook website is online here.
The Priseman Seabrook Collection of 21st Century British Painting is the only art collection in the United Kingdom dedicated to Painting produced in Britain after the year 2000. It contains work of international significance by leading artists including European Sovereign Painters Prize winner Susan Gunn, 54th Venice Biennale exhibitor Marguerite Horner, East London Painting Prize winner Nathan Eastwood, John Moores Prize winner Nicholas Middleton, Academy awardee James Quin, John Player Portrait Award Winner Paula MacArthur, Griffin Art Prize exhibitor Matthew Krishanu and Birtles Prize Winner Simon Burton.
The Collection of 20th and 21st Century British Works on Paper is comprised of prints, drawings and watercolours by key figures of British art including Francis Bacon, Peter Blake, Simon Carter, Alan Davie, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Elisabeth Frink, Eric Gill, David Hockney, Ben Johnson, Paul Nash, John Piper, Eric Ravilious, Colin Self and Graham Sutherland.
The Contemporary Chinese Works on Paper collection is a new collection focused on small hand made works on paper created by leading Chinese artists practicing in the 21st century. It is cross generational and explores the output of artists who were born before the ‘Cultural Revolution’ such as Jiao Ye and Zhong Xiaojing, those who grew up in the wake of the Revolution like Wang Fenghua and Liao Zongrong, and those born under the ‘One-Child Policy’ such as Su Jie and Zhang Danni.
“When you first walk into the new Stephen Newton retrospective you are met with a huge canvas, dominating the wall to your left.
For such a massive space, primarily in hues of white, there is an economy of detail, concentrated in the centre third, vertical section. But it works. Your eyes are drawn to the “Stairway To A Door” (2001) but the white space is equally as important and balances the whole.
At 76” x 110” and £18,000 it won’t fit everyone’s wall or pocket but it costs nothing to look
This is the beauty of having a contemporary art gallery right in the very centre of Grimsby where everyone is welcome – whether you are 5 or 105, an art academic, or think you know absolutely nothing about art.”
There is something strangely compelling about the art of Stephen Newton…
Steve Newton’s exhibition ‘Life In The Abstract’, as featured here in the Hull Daily Mail, is on view at Studio 11 Gallery, Hull until Monday 3rd March 2014.
“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.