Kate Stevens

Gordon Bull

Kate Stevens’ current paintings are energetic and evocative streetscapes. She takes photographs while walking: mundane, even dull, images tracing incidental everyday experiences of passing through streets or other urban pathways. She then re-photographs these snapshots using a digital video camera. The video can shift the framing of an image, or clip a detail, or return a virtual movement to the scene as the camera tracks across or zooms closer to the surface of the photograph. In this way the video produces something like a filmic sequence of images from a single photograph: often the source of the sets and series she produces. Stevens also frequently uses filters on the video camera lens to transform distance and distort colour relationships in the image. She rephotographs frames from the video screen, resulting in small prints that will be the reference and source for her paintings. Walk and photograph, video and photograph: the work of painting then begins. The lush, rich impasto surface and the high-toned colour of Stevens’ paintings are thus at a great distance from the impetuous gestures or fevered imaginings of the expressionist painters they might recall. They hold in the play of paint a trace of a photographic image and the play of paint is constrained by that image. In some, the blur and distortion is such that if the paint were not applied with a precise discipline, the image might disappear. It is important that this does not happen for it is through this process that the surfaces of her paintings enact or model movement and memory, remembering the experience of walking and looking–for the image to disappear would be to forget.

Kate Stevens graduated with Honours, Canberra School of Art 2001. She was awarded an ASOC Scholarship in 2002 to travel to Japan and an Emerging Artist residency at Canberra Contemporary Art Space 2003.

RealTime issue #57 Oct-Nov 2003 pg. 41

© Gordon Bull; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 October 2003
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