Spatial territories

Amy Stephens

06.10.11 – 16.10.11

Copper Mountain, 2011, Oak, flock, copper, paper, 200 x 120 x 42cm. / Copper Mountain, Close up

“I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and infinite complexity of the coapdaptations between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life.” Charles Darwin, On Natural Selection

La Scatola is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by London artist Amy Stephens, Spatial Territories, an enquiry into the expanse of objects and their relationship with the capacity of space(s).

As her main characters, Amy Stephens casts found, man-made and natural elements, exhibiting them in settings designed as much by her process as they are through the fractal and fractured architectures. As the title suggests, her interest lies in the mini territories created through the playful interaction of hybrid objects and the location of these within the space in order to exhibit the sensual and textural properties of materials.

Using the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a divergent tectonic plate boundary located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, as the starting point, each piece explores the themes of physicality, materiality and aesthetics whilst becoming simultaneously reliant on the natural habitats from which the elements originate. In this juxtaposition of the organic and the deliberate, Stephens rewrites the lives of objects into the tangential and divergent directions of horizontal, vertical and diagonal formations.

Among the work is ‘Copper Mountain’ where brightly coloured blue flock fabric acts a surface material adorning a singular line of wood. Using a solid oak plinth and a piece of copper as anchor points, the line defines its own territory by cutting through the space from one to the other, forming a synergy between the two separate elements. Similarly in ‘Ocean Ridge’ a barnacle is held in position by a piece of fluorescent orange tape forming an immediate contrast against the dark brown line that provides both a portal into her work as well as a boundary between spaces delineated.

Comfortable working with seemingly disparate materials, whether brightly coloured flock or highly-polished bronze, the artist presents pieces immediately alluring and ultimately engaging. The works reflect Stephens’ passion for travel and her interest in the appropriation of nature. Fragile structures juggle between the secure and the precarious revealing the notion of equilibrium, that tense and very fine line between that which we know and that which we fear, at the centre of her practice.

On closer inspection she reveals the construction of a delicate symbiosis between form and materials focusing our attention on the physical representation of nature with precise execution and form. With a mesmerizing tension, the work captivates the artist’s own experience of the world and her private thought processes, which are played out through the physical properties of the materials offering the viewer a confident aesthetic.

Amy Stephens received her MA from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London in 2008. Currently the recipient of an artists’ residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, the artist will have a solo exhibition in Ireland in October 2011. Recent exhibitions include; Amy Stephens, The Process Room, Irish Museum of Modern Art (2011); Line, Poppy Sebire, London (2011); Common Logic, IMT Gallery, London (2011); The Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Mall Galleries, London (2011); No Soul for Sale – A Festival of Independents, Tate Modern, London (2010); Meet Pamela, Project Space Leeds (2009); My Island Downtown, Hafnarstraeti Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland (2009). The artist lives and works in London.

Amy Stephens is one of seven artists who has been shortlisted for The Threadneedle Prize 2011 for Painting and Sculpture. The Threadneedle Prize is the UK’s leading showcase for paintings and sculptures that promote the practice of representational art, but challenge its language and assumptions. The Prize encourages both experienced and emerging artists to submit fresh and intriguing works that are strong and topical observations on the world.

An exhibition curated by Valentina Fois.
Words: Chris Piegza

Thursday 06.10.11
6 – 8.30pm

Spatial Territories, La Scatola Gallery, installation view.