GARY STEPHENS

BIOGRAPHY

GARY STEPHENS

(b. 1962 Yuma, AZ, USA)

 

WORK:

 

Monumental in scale, Gary Stephens portraits pay homage to the African traditions of hair-braiding, hats, headscarves and contemporary urban style. The drawings capturing a view from behind, focus on the iconic power of a subject’s hair or hat instead of their specific facial features. Stephens portrays women in head scarves or men wearing caps to focus attention on the power of these “everyday” symbols of African life. He documents the sense of style and attention people put into how present themselves in a contemporary African setting. From a visual perspective, he is constantly drawn to patterns and visual rhythms, such as geometric repetitions, textile patterns, or botanical shapes. He is attracted to non-verbal, hypnotic visual experiences and chooses his subjects for their stripes and textures. He creates patterns underneath the images that randomly break though and energize the image.

 

BIOGRAPHY:

 

Born on the Mexican border town of Yuma, Arizona, Gary Stephens studied painting and drawing at the University of Arizona and the San Francsico Art Instiutue. For the past thirty years, he has worked as an artist and travelled extensively in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa for inspiration. In 1998, he moved to Florence, Italy, where he lived and worked for ten years refining his drawing style. In 2009, he did a year long residency at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town. Since 2008, Stephens has been living and working in South Africa – where his work began on a series of monumental portraits of his artist friends and their African sense of style and dress. He combines his interests in optical effects, stripes, fractured images, with his love of pattern and mark-making and uses the portrait and cityscape to explore both his visual interests and to engage with the beauty of the African continent. Stephens’ work is in public and private collections in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

 

CV:

 

EDUCATION:

 

1980-82 

University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

 

1983-84 

San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA

 

1985-86 

College of Marin, Kentfield, Ca, USA

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

 

2013 

Omenka Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria, Networks and Voids, Modern Nigerian Hairstyles with Okhai Ojeikere

 

2012 

Gallery Momo,  In Conversation,  Johannesburg, SA

Omenka Gallery, The Ankara Portraits, Lagos, Nigeria

 

2011 

Gallery Momo, Braids and Caps, Johannesburg, SA

 

2008 

Yuma Art Center Museum, Arizona, USA, “NewWork”

Studio Dimore , Florence, Italy,

 

2005 

Yuma Art Center Museum, Yuma, Az “Cactus and Sunflowers"

Gallerie Franzke Art Meeting Point, Vienna , Austria

Polissena , Prato (Florence), Italy “ Arizona Meets Africa”

 

2004 

BZF, Vellechi Spazio Culturale, Florence, Italy “Giant Sunflowers”

 

2003 

Yuma Fine Arts Center, Yuma, Az, “Desert Fauve Landscapes” 

 

2002 

Momoyama Art space , Florence, Italy “Spirit Vessels”

 

2000 

Michael Himovitz Gallery, Sacramento, Ca

 

1995 

College of Marin; Kentfield, Ca

 

1991 

Braunstein / Quay Gallery, San Francisco,Ca, “Personal Icons”

 

1990 

Elaine Horwitch Galleries, Palm Springs, Ca

Sun Gallery, Haward, Ca “Earthly Delights”

Yuma Art Center; Yuma, Az, “The Whimsical Animal”

 

1989 

Claudia Chapline Gallery; Stinson Beach, Ca, “Heads”

 

1987 

Claudia Chapline Gallery, Stinson Beach, Ca, “ The Wild West Show”

The Phoenix Gallery, San Francisco,

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

 

2014 

Omenka Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria, London 14, International Art Fair,  Booth F 

Artco Gallery, Aachen Germany. London 14, International Art Fair,  Booth H4

 

2013 

Everard Read Gallery, Sydney Australia, Sydney Contemporary13 art booth

Everard Read Gallery, Johanneburg Art Fair, Sandton Civic Center,

David Krut,  Trees,  Newlands, Capetown, SA

 

2012 

Gallery Momo, Johannesburg, SA, Gallery artists exhibit.

 

2010 

            Spanish Embassy, The World of Cape Town Art, Cape Town, S A

 

2009 

Greatmore Art Studios, Cape Town, South Africa, members show

UCA Gallery, Woodstock, South Africa “Portraits”

 

2006 

L’Albero Celeste, San Gimignano, Italy, “Summer Group Show”

 

1998 

  1. Wolk Gallery, St. Helena, Ca

Mill Valley Sculture Garden, Mill Valley, Ca

Mendocino Art Center, Ca, “Ceramic Sculpture: A Fine Arta View”

 

1997 

Napa Valley College, Ca, “Bay Area Art”

 

1996 

Irvine Fine Arts Center; Irvine, Ca “Maps, Globes and Charts”

 

1994 

Anchorage Museum of History & Art, Anchorage, Ak “A World of Maps”

 

1993 

San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, “Body Politic”

Bolinas Museum, Pt. Reyes, Ca “Self Portraits: True Stories”

University of Arizona, Tucson, Az , “Earth Day Juried Show"

 

1992 

Faulkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael, Ca, “Shrines” ( Cash Award)

 

1991 

LA Artcore, Los Angeles,Ca, “8th Juried Exhibition”

Downey Museum of Art, Ca, “Contemporary Virgins of Guadalupe”

Dinnerware Artists’ Cooperative, Tucson, AZ, “Biennial Exhibit”

Nelson Morales Gallery, San Francisco,Ca, “Anti War Signs”

 

1990 

Arpel Gallery, Santa Barbara, Ca “Juried Exhibition”

Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, Ca, “Living Artists Program”

Elaine Horwitch Galleries; Scottsdale, Az, “The Reflected Image”

Arizona Art Commission Traveling Exhibition, “True Blues”

Elaine Horwitch Galleries; Sedona, Az

 

1989  

San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco (Curator, ReneYanez)

Casa Grande Art Museum, Casa Grande, Az, “Animals”

San Francisco Art Dealers Association, San Francisco, Ca “Introductions”

 

1988  

Claudia Chapline Gallery, Stinson Beach, Ca, “New Landscapes”

Michael Himovitz Gallery, Sacramento, Ca, “Southwest Christmas”

Yosemite Nat'l. Park, Ca, “Yosemite Renaissance III”

 

1987  

Michael Ivey Gallery, Los Angeles

Virginia Breier Gallery, San Francisco

 

1986  

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery, San Francisco

Falkirk Center Annual Juried Show, San Rafael, Ca

 

1985  

Crocker-Kingsley Museum, Sacramento,Ca, “Annual Exhibit”

 

TEACHING/RESIDENCIES:

 

2012  

Printmaking lecture and workshop leader, Yaba Tech, Lagos Nigeria

 

2008  

Painitng Residency, Greatmore Art Studios, Cape Town, S A

Guest lecture, Living Artist, Polytech University of Milan, Italy

 

1993  

Studied traditional Balinese painting with native artists, Ubud, Bali

 

1990  

Fairbanks, Alaska, “Animals, Myths & Monsters”, Ceramics Workshop

Juror, 64th Parallel Competition, Fairbanks, Alaska

Exhibition, Residency, Public Lecture, and

School Tours; Yuma Art Center, Yuma, Az

 

 

AWARDS:

 

1994  

Grant Recipient, Crafts Category, Marin Arts Council

 

1993  

Best of Class (Drawing), Marin County Fair, Ca

 

1991  

Best of Class (Mixed Media), Marin County Fair, Ca (Jurors: Wayne Thiebaud, Ruth Braunstein)

 

1986  

Grand Prize, “Spirit of Agriculture” Contest, MALT, Marin, Ca, Honorable Mention, Marin County Fair, Ca

 

1985  

Honorable Mention Cash Award, Marin County Fair, Ca ,Invitational Exhibit Student Award, Sausalito Art Festival, Ca

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

 

Yswara Griot, Arts and Culture blog  May 5, 2013 “the Magic of Gary Stephens and the Everyday”

Omenka Gallery -Gary Stephens, The Ankara Portraits, exhibition catalog 2012 Lagos, Nigeria

Mary Ekah -Thisday, The Saturday Newspaper, Lagos Nigeria  Oct 20th,2012

“African Urban Lifestyle from the Brush of an American

Tajudeen Sowole -Africanartswithtaj,  Nigerian art blog, October 2012

Ankara Portriats

Robyn Sassen - Sunday Times Review, Joihannesburg  JUne 5th, 2011

“Making Haircuts the Headline Act”

Sue Grant Marshell -The Arch, Johannesburg Winter 2011 “Streets Ahead, Hair as Braided Art Form”

JoAnne Locktov - The Art of Mosaic Design, Rockport Press, 1998

Torri Minton - San Francisco Chronicle, “Too-Human Angel”, Sept. 22, 1994

Pascale Le Draoulec- Marin Independent Journal, “Suggestive Art Pulled”, Sept. 20, 1994

Margaret Regan- Tucson Weekly, “ the Best of The West”, June 12, 1991

Jennifer Crohn- San Francisco Bay Guardian, “Art Against War”, March 13, 1991

Tyson Underwood- Pacific Sun, “Colorful Ceramic Animal Fantasies”, June 8, 1990

Anna McClain- In Marin, “No Attitude, Gary Stephens Paints Happy”, June,

1990

Michele Cohen- Yuma Daily Sun, “Yuma Bred Artist Tickles Visual Pallet”, January 11,1990

Phyllis Bragdon- Marin Independent Journal, “Falkirk Annual”, Sept. 5, 1989

David Mitchell- Point Reyes Light, "Sparsely Sage and Timely", June 29, 1989

Jim Scanlon- Coastal Post, “Socko Stinson Art Show”, June 26, 1989

Jennifer Merin- Los Angeles Times, “Sedona: Art Scene”, June ,1988

David Hale- Fresno Metropolitan Art Report, “Yosemite Renaissance III”, Summer, 1988

 

 

COLLECTIONS (SELECTED LIST):

 

James Makamba, London UK

Dumisane Phakate, Johannesburg SA

Mpho Diale, Johannesburg SA

Malungelo Zilimbola, Johannesburg SA

Acha Leke, Johannesburg SA

Rand Merchant Bank, Johannesburg, SA

Kgomotso Monnakgotla, Johannesburg SA

Bowman Gilfillan, Johannesburg, SA

Oakland Museum, Ca, USA

Chip Conley, Joie di Vive Hotels, Ca USA

Carlos Santana, Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco, USA

Commodore Hotel, San Francisco, USA

Casa Del Mar, Stinson Beach, Ca, USA

Qasr Al Sarab Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Roberto & Eva Cavalli, Florence Italy

Guido Ciompi, architetto, Florence Italy

Pietro Marani, Curator, Milan, Italy

Roselyne C. Swig, Artsource, San Francisco USA

Joan Shain, Art Options, San Francisco, USA

Sina Hotels, Venice, Italy