Background image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/cybertoad/510187391/in/photostream/ used under Creative Commons Licence Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Friday 15th June was a perfect day to be out and about – the sun shone and the temperature hovered around 20° for most of the day. I set out for the coast and had an agreeable walk along the Bognor Regis sea front. But the sea air was not the main purpose of my outing – the real reason for visiting West Sussex lay at my next stop, in Chichester, where Stephen Hornsby-Smith’s latest exhibition ‘To Lock Horns’ was taking place.
Unfortunately, Stephen was not there on the day I had chosen to visit, and yet as soon as I entered the Oxmarket Gallery his presence was all around, in his paintings, painted sculptures and his introductory note, which I found first. Amongst his words, which can be as intense as his painting style, Stephen had written:
Then there was a wealth of Stephen’s work to contemplate: idiosyncratic it is, with that vivid fingerprint in each exhibit. In the recurring themes of Wildlife, Cityscape, Aggression and Religion there is a series of contrasts: colours both striking and subdued; brutality and tranquillity; deceptive simplicity and layers of detail; the superficial and the underlying meaning; the humorous and the deadly serious; the mundane and the divine.
Stephen’s written introduction referred tongue-in-cheek to his painted sculptures/assemblages as “Pretentious bullshit!”. All I can say in response is that confronted with a painted Buddha sitting atop the keyboard of a laptop computer with a brightly painted screen (entitled “Is this the new meditation?” if I recall) I found myself smiling and even laughing out loud! This three-dimensional art also features many animals, and Stephen’s description of this branch of his work is worth consulting, both for the technical detail and the underlying message: http://www.stephenhornsby-smith.com/3-dimensional.
It is quite beyond me to offer a critical appreciation of art or any sort: Stephen’s work may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but it is my ‘cup of coffee’ - you have to know me to appreciate the accolade! I find it absorbing and was amazed to discover that more than an hour had passed as I made my way from canvas to print to 3-D piece on my slow progression around the gallery.
I took only one photograph – the arresting and chilling “Crucifixion”, painted on five canvases and shown above – but Stephen’s web site is generously illustrated…
Other articles about Stephen's work in Parish InPrint:
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