27 SEPTEMBER – 17 NOVEMBER 2018
William Benington Gallery
Land | Reland [London] presents geological objects, cityscape materials and imagery from the native landscape. This exhibition is running in parallel with Land | Reland [Portland] at Upfor Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Amy Stephens’ first solo show in the United States. The two exhibitions combine site-specific work responding to the Pacific Northwest Coast, London and the architecture of both galleries.
At the heart of Amy Stephens’ practice is a concern with the reclamation of natural objects and the transferability of form via appropriation. Recent explorations are rooted within the structure’s materiality offering relationships between landscape, architecture and sculpture.
In Portland, a giant volcanic rock from Oregon is carefully balanced on an architectonic steel column. At over two metres high, a new vertical impression is created without appearing overly monumental. In London, the feather rock is transported from its original landing site, relanding in the space. Although her works are heterogeneous, certain elements remain constant in Stephens’ practice including her approach to architecture, minimalism and the readymade.
Throughout the exhibition, a series of inanimate forms and natural objects are thrust into the spotlight. These conflicting geological textures suddenly take naturally to each other as they are forced to adopt a new habitat. With an acute sensibility to form, accents of colour are created from the successive layering of exhibitions enabling the artist to explore shifting patterns and potential for narrative.
The works captivate a forced symbiosis, which are played out through the physical properties of the materials offering the viewer a confident aesthetic. New structures unfold into sculptures prompting an array of playful meanings that take on the surrounding architecture. This is coupled with items that are allowed to reconnect and reconstruct the past. The WBG Gallery space is transformed into a landing site that redefines the context for these familiar objects, a stark contrast from their original environment.
Amy Stephens (b.1981 London) received an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK (2008). Selected solo exhibitions include Land | Reland Portland, Oregon (2018); fig-futures,The Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK (2018); Retain, Reframe, Maria Stathi, Art Seen, Nicosia, Cyprus (2017); fig2 35/50, ICA Studio, London (2015); Rocks Remember, William Benington Gallery, London, UK (2015); ‘an oyster can’t read this’, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2015).
Selected awards include fig-futures with Art Fund, Arts Council England and Outset Contemporary Art Fund (2018); Artists’ International Development Award, Arts Council England and the British Council (2016); Villa Lena Artists’ Residency, Tuscany, Italy (2015); Triangle Network Award & International Fellowship to Muscat, Oman with Gasworks Gallery, London(2013); Irish Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Residency, Dublin, Ireland (2011).
The artist has artwork in David Ross Foundation, The Grundy Art Gallery Collection, Groucho Club Collection, Modern Forms Collection, Irish Office of Public Works State Collection, The Rothschild Collection, Soho House Collection, Villa Lena Foundation, Zabludowicz Collection. Amy Stephens was recently appointed a Trustee of the Royal Society of Sculptors.