ALVA

Brian K. Stephens: Life I Know

September 30 – November 11

Brian K. Stephens is well known for using both the real and the imagined images of his life in Lyme, Connecticut as subjects for his oil paintings on canvas. His children have frequently been depicted, as well as the cows and roosters that may have inhabited the town at one time, but which are mostly absent from it nowadays. His new paintings seem at first to be a great departure.

The canvases are spread not with oils, but with acrylic paint on and around empty pieces of clothing and newspaper, leaving behind the barnyard and familial references of his prior work. Some of the power of these paintings comes from the sheer emptiness of the clothes. There is a strong suggestion of the women and children who at one time wore these outfits, but are no longer represented in them. At the same time, Stephens’ classical training from the Lyme Academy is very much in evidence in the composition and execution of these moving works. The placement of the dresses, skirts and shirts on the canvases conjures memories of “mother” laying out the correct outfit for the first day of school. These paintings will pull on the viewer’s emotions of nostalgia, a yearning for one’s childhood and an odd sense of loss.

Brian K. Stephens received his MFA from City College in New York and his BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Art. His work has been shown nationally in solo shows on both coasts and internationally in several cities in Germany as well as Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been in numerous group shows in the U.S. and abroad. Stephens has been awarded several important mural commissions in Langerwehe, Germany. The artist lives and works in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

 

I Have Been Waiting For This, Oil, 90″ x 68″, 2006

Untitled, Acrylic, newspaper, cloth, and woman’s blouse 61″ x 39″, 2006