steve newton

profile

steve newton

Statement

My influences are many including Primitive Art, Outsider Art and many artists throughout history. The list would be too many and too diverse to be useful.

My art is about creating art-work that reflects my world-view and expresses my interests and my concerns. My art-work is a reflection of my thoughts, feelings and experiences. Or indeed my interpretation of others experiences. I am disturbed by much that I see and hear around me and my art is an effort to better understand these experiences and the resulting confusions. The dominant themes in my art-work are alienation and the human condition - aspiration and the search for peace - for resolution. I am driven by the need to explore questions about the meaning of our lives, the irrational nature of things - life's absurdity.

There is a certain ritualistic element to my art-work and my working methods, but this has never been conscious. It is more the result of my 'slow' methods of working and the practice of often having the elements that appear in the work around me for some considerable amount of time before they find their place in a sculpture. I have also created art-work or objects and then leave these to gather dust, or to weather in the garden for some years - to then bring these elements back into a piece of work. This introduces an element of chance and something beyond my control into the piece. My use of materials will often inform the final piece. I enjoy using textured materials and often these are recycled discarded materials. I have always enjoyed the apparent 'history' in a piece of art, an artefact, old worn toy or broken object. For me there is also an element of 'magic' attached to the objects that I enjoy using - something indefinable.

I hope that my work will move people to respond and think. The work may start off with an intention to address an issue - the final piece inevitably has more personal themes, and I like then, to leave the sculpture or image to speak for itself.

My art-work can disturb because of the themes I am interested in and my use of dolls, my Mixed-Media Sculpture is important to me. I have always been fascinated by Ethnic objects and Sculpture. The nails driven into some of the pieces relates to the Fetish/Power objects of Africa.

The winged creature, or indeed the wings generally, represent aspiration to flight or freedom - or denial of the same.

I am drawn to worn and damaged objects and textures - this interest is evident in much of this work. I can use whatever is at hand to make my art-work. I have used clay, papier-mâché, found objects, cardboard, soil, leaves and feathers. I enjoy using paint to disguise and then to reveal the forms as I work in 3D - often destroying to then create anew.

I do not deliberately set out to disturb, or upset, but my work often grows from my own disquiet and anxiety, it would not have been done if I had not felt so disturbed and compelled to make it. I have always enjoyed creating art in boxes - there is a sense of creating another world, a distancing that I enjoy, and which in some of my more disturbing pieces is almost necessary. My art-work can be odd and disturbing, dark and strange, but also I hope, curious and even beautiful.

I have recently returned to painting in acrylic and collage - I am enjoying a new sense of discovery and freedom in simply creating. I am now happier to leave a sense of ambiguity in the work that I create.

Most recently I have been creating some digital collages and a number of digital paintings that will be available as prints. I am enjoying creating digital art (using Corel's 'Painter'). I am very aware that I use few of the techniques of the many that are available. This is quite a learning curve for me - but a lot of fun. I also create digital images using artwork that I have created - scanning these into the computer to then digitally manipulate the final image.

Some of these digital art-works are erotic in nature and to some perhaps pornographic. My goal is to produce loving, beautiful, sexual images. I am keen not to offend or upset. Personally I do not find anything offensive or obscene about sex. I believe in the beauty and power of sex, sexuality and eroticism. Besides being fun sex is sacred and enlightening. Sexuality is surely part of everyone's personal, social and political lives, even if most people conspire to pretend that it is not. The use of Japanese text overlay in this work is a visual reference to the Japanese 'Shunga' prints. The text that I use is taken from some hand-written manuscript books of the Meiji period or earlier (1868-1912). These are books of philosophy and poetry. The text also obscures, adding texture and a quality of the 'happy accident'. This gives the work a distance for me and adds another dimension which I enjoy.

Biography

1957born in Nazeing, Essex.
1976Art Foundation Course Loughton College, Essex.
1977Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall. Degree (2.2) Fine Art.
1981Art Teaching Certificate, Goldsmiths College, London.
1984moved to Devon.
1996 to 2012Managed ART WORKS - arts worker.

I have a degree in fine art ( Falmouth, Cornwall ), and an art teaching certificate ( Goldsmiths, London ). I enjoy live theatre, film, animation and all kinds of music. I was a sessional arts worker from 1996 to 2012. I provided art and craft sessions, training, workshops and shows for groups and individuals of all ages and abilities.

Exhibition History

2nd to 17th August 2013"Form & Function" - mixed show @ Exeter Contemporary Arts Hub
Autumn 2006"Earthbound" - mixed show @ Art Terracina - www.artterracina.co.uk