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Phoenix Ian Stephenson


Ian Stephenson Browney, County Durham, 1934 – London, 2000

Date 1980
Object type drawing
Medium, technique acrylic on paper, collage

54 x 67.5 cm

Inventory number MO.91.44
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

Stephenson has always been a great admirer of Seurat, Pointillism being the main source of inspiration for him. Some of his paintings were shown in Antonioni’s Blow-up of 1966 – that was the year that made him take a great decision to restrict his painting techniques to various ways of sprinkling, splashing, and dripping. Sometimes he places several canvases or pieces of paper side by side and works on them alternately. Sprinkling the paint with a bristle brush, he constructed the surface from tiny colour speckles in superimposed overlapping layers. That is how areas arise where independent paint dots condense into clouds, giving random accents to the picture surface. The structure of a picture is not created by the boundaries but by the void, the interruption of continuity between the pictures. The viewer’s own motion, approaching or departing, fills him with a feeling of saturation and void, distance and a whirl taking place right in front of his eye. In his lively, sensually impressive pictures Stephenson starts out from the physical models of real perception, from the physiology of sensation, from the scientific analogies of micro- and macrocosmic implications.

Ferenc Tóth

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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