Anthony Stevens: Our Own Reflections

28 April - 30 June 2021

"These textiles are beautiful, hand-crafted creations which guide us towards an understanding of our shared experiences as humans. They encourage us to slow down, and lead us towards a realisation that rather than being apart, we are part of something larger than ourselves. Perspective is key. In the Full Bloom series, Stevens is articulating his belief that we can learn by looking more closely at the processes of nature - that we are all subject to the same life cycles as a flower, or a tree, or even the stars, just operating on different timeframes. His message of belonging, understanding and the constant flow of life is reassuring, particularly in these current times." Jo Baring

 

This Viewing Room has been designed to support Anthony Stevens' solo show, full details here

  • The Night Bloom Series

    The Night Bloom series is part of an ongoing investigation into how the processes of human life are reflected in the world around us. 

    Growth and the creative space in it's many facets are often dark, whether it be the womb, the earth, sleep or the limitless bounds and constellations of inner and outer space. 

    These spaces and processes can give a sense of appreciation and awe to the mystery of life . In the dark, we can develop new aspects of ourselves, we can learn to see in new ways that were previously unknown to us. We can't rely on the usual senses of the daylight world and something new has to emerge. Without darkness there is no newness, no fecundity, only eventual depletion. It as essential to life as the sun in the sky and the air we breathe. 

    The 12 works create a poem:

    LIFE GROW SEED SOW

    DIG DIRT CURE HURT

    HEART ACHE BEAUTY MAKE

    The Night Bloom Series
    Anthony Stevens
    The Night Bloom Series, 2021
    Hand embroidery on hand stitched mixed textile collage
    110 x 130 cm

    Made up of 12 pieces each measuring approx 30 x 23 cm unframed
  • The Full Bloom Series

    The processes that we, as human beings, go through are often reflected back at us through watching nature. We all started out germinating and growing in the dark before pushing our way out into the world. We have the ability to transform the muck and filth of life and turn it into a source of nourishment and growth. We root our humanity in this fertile ground and become beautiful, uniquely ourselves, blooming vividly and wildly in the sun and yet aware that our roots are sunk in the realities of life. No muck, no flower. It takes a lot of effort to fully bloom.

    The Full Bloom Series
    Anthony Stevens
    The Full Bloom Series, 2021
    Hand embroidery, acrylic, tea stain on hand stitched mixed textile collage
    92 x 76 cm

    Made up of 4 pieces each approx. 30 x 22 cm unframed size
    41 x 33 cm framed size
    Each piece is framed individually.
  • Pieces about Truth and Openness

  • Pieces about renewal

  • Pieces about the joy in living

  • Pieces about Consumerism

    • Anthony Stevens, Au Contraire no. 2, 2020
      Anthony Stevens, Au Contraire no. 2, 2020
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    • Anthony Stevens, Hair Oil, 2019
      Anthony Stevens, Hair Oil, 2019
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    • Anthony Stevens, We 2 R 1, 2021
      Anthony Stevens, We 2 R 1, 2021
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  • An example of artwork commentary provided by the artist

    Click on 'Read more' on each artwork page to access the commentary

    This piece leads on from NAM no 1. To briefly recap, NAM is an honorific word or title that is placed before a Buddha’s name or the title of a Buddhist sutra. In it’s most simplistic form means ‘devotion to’. This piece is really about the relief I sometimes feel from my Buddhist practise of chanting ‘NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO (DEVOTION TO THE WONDERFUL LAW OF THE LOTUS SUTRA), of being able to put into perspective my place in the chaotic, sometimes murky swamp of life where we are bombarded 24/7 with the results of our shared greed, anger and stupidity. I am able to understand a little better what I contribute to the world both for the better and the worse, to get a glimpse of the potential in the problem. This is like the paradox of the beautiful lotus, which needs the mud of the swamp to feed it’s roots and to bloom and reveal it’s full potential. It is a part of a cycle that plays out across the micro and the macro. 

    The muddy swamp is a moist place fed by the rain, where waste is transformed into life giving and life growing compost. The moisture from above feeds the moisture below and vice versa, over and over again. It reminds me of how when we cry deeply, we somehow revitalise our lives, feel softened and more flexible in our approach to life and to each other, that everything eventually passes, just like the clouds.

    An example of artwork commentary provided by the artist, Click on 'Read more' on each artwork page to access the...
    Anthony Stevens
    Passing by like the clouds (NAM no 2.), 2020
    Mixed textiles, hand embroidery, tea and diamante detailing
    55 x 81 cm
  • Extract from catalogue essay by Jo Baring

    "Stevens has an immense curiosity about the world. Self-taught as an artist, his deep desire for research and learning is also visible in the myriad and often complex ideas he negotiates in his art. Jungian analysis, comparative religion, pop culture and metaphysics appear filtered through the flotsam and jetsam of his everyday thoughts, experiences and dreams. For many years Stevens wrote poetry, and his enjoyment of words and word play finds bold expression in his visual art. A strong Buddhist practice gives Stevens an openness to the present moment in everyday life; observations of fleeting experiences are recorded in fragments of sentences, text and poems in notebooks which he carries with him. These jottings simmer in his thoughts for a while, igniting further contemplation and investigation, before appearing as the text in his artworks. His own feelings and responses to what he learns open up new aspects of the world to him. Stevens isn’t seeking answers, in fact he notes that learning more about the mysteries of our shared humanity makes his experience of life ‘richer and more profound’." Jo Baring