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Tue 17 Jun 2008–Tue 1 Jul 2008, 6:00pm–8:00pm

Where: SOCA Gallery, 74 France Street, Newton

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


Listed by: anatongue

In his paintings, Stephen Howard relies on memory to intuitively strip the image down to its bare essentials drawing attention to the beauty of pure shape and colour interaction.

The main focus in his work is “the accidental beauty that is created when man and nature do their best to ignore each other. The gentle irony that most of the time we are too busy to notice.”

Like the extraordinary length of time it takes Howard to create a painting, each work requires to be visually absorbed over time. After a sell-out exhibition in 2006, it took this highly unique artist two years to experiment and germinate further ideas.

The upcoming exhibition opening on Tuesday, 17th at SOCA gallery, features the most comprehensive body of work to date with ten paintings on display.

Howard, a self-labelled ‘reluctant realist’ describes his works as abstracts, playing on the fact that although these paintings include familiar landscapes they are anything but reality. They become surreal vacuums of a place that resonate a sense of the unnatural, as everything but primary structures are removed.

He takes out the ‘noise’ of straight realism where wondrous trees are superimposed against an almost theatrical backdrop as in ‘Urban Landscape 2’.

If Howard’s works are contradictory and enigmatic, they are also memorable and articulate much like the sources he draws on.

He shares visual affinity with the style of Edward Hopper or Jeffrey Smart, although his formative influence remains firmly entrenched in the hard-edged realism of artists such as Rita Angus, Don Binney and Robin White.

In recent years he has gained inspiration from David Hockney's realistic California paintings with huge abstract splashes, which made him realize the two elements – abstract and realist can in fact coexist in one work.

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