Painting Themes

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Anthony Stephenson's curriculum vitae

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Saatchi Art


Great Work ...
"Great Work (if you can get it)" 2019
electronic art music & graphics
The Great Work or Magnum Opus as it is known in alchemy, breaks down the transmutation of base material into gold (in this case) into a four step process: 1 - Nigredo, 2 - Albedo, 3 - Citrinitas, and 4 - Rubedo. This pre-literate attempt at systematization inspired an abstraction for each of the world’s continents in this series of electronic art music.
Expanding on both the avian symbology found in these treatises as well as Jungian psychology, the birds of a feather (BoF) meeting style is the acronym is used by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to denote initial meetings of members interested in a particular issue and can also allude to the “old boys network” found in the highest ranks of capitalism and politics.

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Twisted T and Barrels & Cones
"Twisted T and Barrels & Cones" 2018
In 2012 I photographed what I called "Stacks" and posted it on Instagram. Over the years I continued to occasionally find these random compositions of street devices and photograph them. Then in 2016 someone found a video on Reddit and posted it to Facebook that I immediately reappropriated by titling it "Twisted T".

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artist's fee 2018 anthony stephenson
"newsroom images 2018" 2018
media art
What is the value of an image? In journalism, timeliness can be of the essence. The value of news can be equated to it's currency. This is a selection of images collected over the years while I worked for a daily newspaper from the early eighties to the late nineties. Their original purpose has long expired. Does the reappropriation within an art context change the meaning or value of these items? While no longer news, they might still be considered historical documents. The hardcopy remnants are now antiquated media. These went from digital to hardcopy back to digital in a manner paralleling their character as journalism to art to, ultimately, history.

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artist's fee 2018 anthony stephenson
"artist's fee" 2018
A funding practice that re-channels the flows of desire in capitalist exchange, with a fee that goes from zero to exorbitant, the artist’s fee has now been made into art. In between the title and a dated byline, a link to PayPal links directly to the artist's account.

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Dromoscopic Photography
"Dromoscopic Photography" 2016 - 2017
digital photography
"Opposite to the stroboscopy which allows us to observe objects animated by rapid movement, as if they were in slow motion, this dromoscopy displays inanimate objects as if they were animated by a violent movement."
– Paul Virilio

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"Circles" 2017 (1996 - 2011) (UX/UI)
I noticed a pattern emerging, again.

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"XO" 2017 (1996 - 2016) (UX/UI)
Somewhere around Valentine's Day I noticed a pattern emerging ...

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"Xrds" 2016
acrylic on canvas (dim. var.)
More evocative than descriptive, these paintings are my interpretations of satellite images of famous traffic intersections.

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"pan-O-selfies" 2014
digital photography
Amidst the self-portrait craze that the camera phone created, the panorama feature brought time into still image making for a fun house twist on an ancient tradition.

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Change - 3 Coins 64 Times
"Change - 3 Coins 64 Times" 2011
metallic acrylic on canvas panels 6" x 6" ea.
Using a fortune telling game, that sometimes uses three coins, as a method of composition ...

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"insurance" 2010
graphic art & painting
It has often been asked what the value of human life. Numbers are occasionally calculated, but specific transactions are an underworld activity. Fair valuation has been proposed for specific body parts by celebrities and their money-makers in the form of insurance.

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"Trickle" 2008
oil on canvas (dim. var.)
These works are based on images found on the Internet. They are pictures of gifts in their wrapping which have been brought into Photoshop and pixellated for the male characters and layered and softened for the females. The names are based on the top five philannthropists of 2008.

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Mine + Yours = Ours
"Mine + Yours = Ours" 2007
paper & acrylic on canvas (shown with simulated fence frame)
A diagrammatic riff on the cultural.




Disparate Measures
"Disparate Measures" 2007
acrylic on wood fencing, 48" x 60"
The blue area is taken from the shape of a soundwave pattern of a bird chirp.








"Singularity" 1996
acrylic on canavas, 48" x 48"
What is a painting?
[cf. Roger Penrose and Delueze & Guattari]




Made for Making It, Again

"Made for Making It, Again" 1993
paint on photo & chalk on chalkboard, 35" x 48" (total)
A doubling of interior/exterior mechanisms of materialization







Paint ' Photos
"Paint on Photos" 1991 - 1993
paint on photos, (dim. var.)
paint • photography • cyberspace.

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The Draft of a Movement Too Fast to be Seen
"The Draft of a Movement Too Fast to Be Seen" 1992
acrylic on unstretched canvas, 51" x 51" (dim. var.)
In a cloak of ideology, nothing remains to be seen.





"Trailer" 1992
mixed media, (model 9" high)
This idea, first ignored by the organizers of the 1982 Olympics in Los Angeles, would be ideal for subways (instead of the original highway proposal). Using the principals of animation, a series of images would appear to move as the vehicle speeds by.




Found Improvisations

"Found Improvisations" 1990 detritus (dim. var.)
Compositions were made and photographed where junk had been left in the suburban landscape. A policeman sent to one of the scenes found nothing to charge me with and allowed me to continue.

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"Philtered Commerce" 1989
Linocuts with gold & silver ink on rice paper
These images were of sexually psychoactive plants were done as an example of self-censorship during the Culture Wars spearheaded by the right-wing during the 1980s.

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"Symbiotistry" 1988,
computer graphics
Using Photoshop version 1.0, these are explorations of the symbiotic relationships between plants and rough proposals for larger artworks.


Commercial Space Fig. A

"Tryptych" 1977-1987
mixed media, 10" x 75" (total)
Here we have the recombinant value of the word as high abstraction and interactivity.


Commercial Space Fig. A
"Commercial Space (fig. a)" 1986
painted wood with photo, 19 3/4" x 12 1/2" x 3 1/8"
A pre-structuralist construction supporting a trace of a sign signifying nothing any more than an elaboration of a readymade collage in the Abstract Expressionist style.



"Gramr" 1985
acrylic on canvas with painted particle board, 82" x 54"
A "weighty" interpretation of Painting made after reading Jacques Derrida.






"The Medicine Show of Bawdy Bill" 1985
television script (1st draft, unedited scanned conversion)
A pilot screenplay demonstrating an idea for a weekly television show that would center on a once popular travelling medicine show format. Envisioned in a post-modern style where song-and-dance routines would spice up the comedy that focuses on homeopathic and historical approaches to health and healing.

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"Mole" 1984
wood, lacquer & paint, 6 3⁄4" x 6 3⁄4" x 8 1⁄2"
This is this.





"Slave" 1984
text & graphics with audio, dim. var.
What was once called intermedia might now be considered early multimedia. This project was created with a boom box, a typewriter, pen and ink, and a photocopier. Audio is juxtaposed to images and lyrics or instructions.


The Baby Slant Step

"The Baby Slant Step" 1983
wood, glue, gold paint, 4" x 5" x 9"
A riff on a piece by Bruce Nauman.




Bells Are Ringing
"Bells Are Ringing" 1982
paint on masonite with pearl, 96" x 18"
A song trickles in the air as waves, somewhere, and crashes upon a shore. And in the depths, beauty is formed – as the spillover, of an unformed dream.



"Dreamstand" 1981
painted wood, 8' x 12 ' x 2 1⁄2'
A podium and derelict's retreat, "Dreamstand" was built at the Los Angeles Times' Times Square where it faced City Hall. On the last day of it's exhibit, packing my guitar case, I took the bus downtown. When I got there, I took out the axe I packed, I proceeded to demolish the project. As I was doing this, one of the street people walked up to me and said: "I hope that you realize that you are destroying somebody's home."
Later, upon refelection, I realized that the "stairway to heaven" that I had built delivered me out of the City of Angels to the land of the 'Jersey Devils – perhaps a speech was in due order.



"Silver" 1980
paint on canvas, 48" x 24" x 3⁄4"



"Gold" 1980
paint on canvas, 48" x 24" x 3⁄4"
Painting as ontological simulation – see "Drawing"



Bells Are Ringing
"Drawing" 1979
collage on gesso, 12 3⁄4 x 16 1⁄2" ea.
"Drawing" was exhibited with "Silver" and "Gold" at the Pacific Stock Exchange in 1980. Visiting Los Angeles some years later, I was downtown and decided to look down a street to see if the building that I used to live in was still there. It was. But draped around it was a banner saying that it was now "The Future Home of the Pacific Stock Exchange."




Beginning with the word as abstraction, “Zounds!” (c.1977) presented onomatopoeia into the conceptual field. These investigations went from the Derridean influenced architectonic (“Gramr” 1985) to image/poetic ("Paint on Photos") to Deleuzean diagrammatic (“Mine + Yours = Ours” 2007). Recurring themes that bring together a morphology and ideology that is not only conceptual, but sequential within the construct of its evolving logic. The work has moved from the astrophysics of “Singularity” (1996) to a series of work titled “The Ambit Suite” (2007) in which the border became the issue, to studies in value with “Trickle” (2008) and “Change” (2011). Mobile affectations have been lined-up in a series of videos entitled “Dromoscopic” (2015) while perspective and abstraction are more of an issue in the "Xrds" (2016) paintings. History and capitalist flow dominate 2018.
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