By Lucy Hasani, galerieperrie.com
This week, Galerie Perrie had the pleasure of interviewing one of our very own artists based in Scotland, Steven Cox. With his mixed media paintings, Steven Cox focuses on ways to examine materiality through vacillating between minimalism and expression. His bridging of technique, color and form highlights his desire to unearth new possibilities and stylistically traverse multiple cadences within his works. Galerie Perrie highlights this desire with his unique series of small scale paintings that distinguish themself from his previous work through elements of collage and text, further pushing the boundaries of materiality.About The Art…
GP: What are some key elements of your new work that differs from previous paintings?
Steven: Galerie Perrie is presenting a unique series of small scale paintings that were all created during the 2020 pandemic. Lockdown provided me with an opportunity to slow down and contemplate, sparking a relentless desire to experiment with materials that are commonly sprinkled around my studio. These highly textured paintings are rather distinctive for they feature elements such as collage and text. If anything, I’d say these paintings are the precursors to what’s now occupying my ideas and movements.
GP: Do you hope that the viewer will make their own conclusions from looking at your paintings or do you have a message you intend to put across?
Steven: These paintings really need to be experienced in person. When viewed online they have the potential to appear flat, though they are actually rough and unevenly textured. Whilst these paintings can be interpreted subjectively, they exist as formal investigations into materiality that encompass a variety of mark making processes. (Note: Please contact Galerie Perrie to arrange a virtual walk through with the artist to view the artwork live).
GP:If there is a message intended, do the processes/materials used help highlight this message?
Steven: Collectively, this series of small scale paintings are inspired by frottage, which is the process of obtaining a recording or impression of an uneven surface. I have always been interested in this process of making a visual recording of a texture, whether that be of the ground or a wall. In regards to this series of paintings, the final top layer of black oil paint functions in much the same way. It accentuates the peaks and irregularities of the painting’s surface. I find that these abstract paintings are rather introspective in the sense that they act like topographic recordings of their own making.
GP: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
Steven: I would consider a painting as nearing completion when I have left it untouched for an extended period of time. It is important to me that I consider the painting as having achieved an interesting autonomy. The pièce de résistance of each painting is the final layer of black oil paint that conceptually unifies the work.
GP: What is the inspiration behind these works that may surprise viewers?
Steven: I’ve always been drawn to the process of frottage and the concept of the trace which is one the most important concepts in Derridean deconstruction. I find that these ideas have been explored by several important artists throughout the course of art history, such as Max Ernst. I particularly admire Mike Kelley’s rather banal Carpet Paintings (2003) where he made impressions of paint covered carpet. Whereas Richard Serra’s minimalist drawings explore this concept by virtue of making the invisible visible. His bold oil stick works give shape to the phenomenological experience of weight, gravity and process.
About The Artist…
GP: If there is anyone in the art world that you could collaborate with, who would it be and why?
Steven: I’d love the opportunity to collaborate with a fashion designer to co-create a haute couture collection that offers the wearer more liberty. To create a series of bespoke one-of-a-kind and completely unique garments using textiles designed by myself would be a rather incredible opportunity. To incorporate hand altered fabrics that align with the aesthetics that I am drawn to, and to explore how my ideas translate through unwearable clothing would be fascinating. Generally couture is seen as something that people just look at, but I’d be more interested in learning how my ideas and concepts could be worn and how this is perceived in public.
GP: Which periods or genres of art inspire you the most?
Steven: Generally speaking I am most interested in conceptual art and process based abstraction.
GP: What is one piece of advice that you would give to emerging artists looking to begin their career?
Steven: An art career is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to pace yourself and understand that things take time to come to fruition.
GP: Does art help you navigate other aspects of life?
Steven: Most certainly. For me, the studio is a personal space to take refuge. The idea of having complete autonomy in the studio to think, explore ideas and reflect is incredibly important to me. I consider the studio a space that is unrestricted where I allow myself to consider how and where my ideas sit within the zeitgeist of painting and art history.
GP: What opportunities are you looking forward to in the future regarding your art career?
Steven: I have two projects lined up with Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton that I’m truly excited about. In February I will present 5 new paintings as part of their Online Viewing Room series. Alongside these new paintings, the incredible Annabel Keenan will be publishing a written text that responds to these paintings. I have also invited a selection of artists to further this conversation by writing responsive texts that accompany this presentation. I will also exhibit new paintings at NADA New York in May 2023 with Halsey McKay Gallery.
Click here to view Steven Cox’s work on GaleriePerrie.com