BY MARGARET PHILLIPS
A collection of shaped paintings by Christchurch artist Eion Stevens comprises the latest exhibition at the Eastern Southland Gallery.
This is the second time the gallery has featured an exhibition by Stevens. The last was a solo show of paintings in the early 1990s.
Gallery programmes officer Marcella Geddes said Stevens was a long-established and consistent painter who had developed an immediately recognisable style.
His paintings were a curious mixture of semi-abstract forms, simply rendered figures and objects and they often featured images that were reused and refined.
“Figurative elements often have autobiographical links that are painted down to strong silhouettes,” Mrs Geddes said.
The works feature defined areas of unmodulated colour which serve as sky, sea, land, walls and floors.
A common thread throughout Stevens’ work was the artist’s off-beat sense of humour but it was often laid over more solemn and sometimes disturbing meaning, Mrs Geddes said.
From time to time Stevens discreetly referenced artists he admired such as Joan Miro and Sydney Nolan.
The works were largely a portal into challenging aspects of the artist’s life and work and they harboured a serious contemplative mood, she said.
This particular exhibition brings together a selection of his shaped paintings covering the period 2005 to 2016.
It is a survey of a 12-year journey through his painting career.
“Many earlier works were lost when the artist’s Lyttelton studio and storage facility were destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake, but, like many other Canterbury artists, he continues undaunted,” she said.