Liam Stevens on his newest body of work and the Somerset skyback to news
This body of work is rooted in memories of Somerset. Its hills, fields, streams, earth and skies provided the backdrops to my experiences as a child. Looking back at this time, my relationship with my rural origins has always in part defined me. During the last two years this sentiment has amplified. I feel more aware of this connection, which is becoming increasingly evident in my painting.
The use of linen and its inherent organic properties is important in creating the distinct natural ground on which the numerous pigment washes are able to establish their territory. In some pieces my process highlights the gridded weave of the linen, creating areas of natural linear punctuation and rhythm
– themes I revisit within my practice. These traces of layered pigment both erase and form detail, responding to structured details initially defined in contrast to the ground and pushing them further into the surface. In some places burying them completely. Foundations in pencil are also obscured by the movement of water and pigment, imparting what I feel is a layering of the natural world.
Overlapping devised and improvised on the same plane provides a counterpoint to the ruled lines on the surface and a field for the properties of the materials to apply their own instinctive
character. To me, these pieces are objects of lived experience and a response to sentiments surrounding the elemental beauty of a time and place I know. An homage to a life I found myself revisiting in pictures and memories during a prolonged interval when travel was not permissible. The work returns me to a horizon I had long since crossed, and a sky to which I will forever be connected.
Liam Stevens, 2022.