Sapling is delighted to present Jessie Stevenson: Way Out East, running from September 8 to 25. Curated by Émilie Streiff and Charlotte Call, the exhibition will feature new paintings embracing the potency of North Norfolk's wild landscapes, a repository of memory and source of solace for the artist.
Stevenson's practice explores the performative nature of painting, challenging its conventions to create an experience of visual pleasure and spatial uncertainty. Her recent work responds to the rural surroundings of her home in North Norfolk. She draws inspiration from the colours and techniques of Old Masters including J. M. W. Turner and Eugène Delacroix, as well as the Romantic poetry of William Wordsworth. These are combined with contemporary pop culture references, incorporating colourways from fashion advertising and television series such as the period drama Bridgerton. Working from digital moving images, contemporary pigments, and frenetic 'colour beginnings' in paint which fill her numerous sketchbooks, the artist reinvigorates the traditional landscape genre.
Stevenson's work examines themes of escapism. Carefully studying and celebrating the place that brought her solace and inspiration throughout the lockdown, she uses ecstatic colours, vivid light, and wild gestures, mixing local marsh clay into the ground of her canvases to physically imbue the works with the landscape's raw elements. Through the unique perspective of her peripatetic upbringing in Turkey, Russia, Egypt, and China, she finds foreign elements in what appears to be a typically English countryside. Her paintings are at once local and globally connected, saturated with memories of nature from around the world.
Jessie Stevenson (b. 1993, Norwich, UK) lives and works between North Norfolk and London. She graduated from Central Saint Martins with a BA in Fine Art in 2017 and is currently studying for an MFA in Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. Recent exhibitions include Stäying Alive, Berntson Bhattacharjee, Falsterbo, Sweden (2021); to be a shell, Queensrollahouse, London (2021); Colour and Poetry online, The Slade (2021); Cutting at lemons for freckles, Skippings Gallery, Great Yarmouth (2021); The Ing Discerning Eye Exhibition (2020); Slade Runner, ASC Gallery, London (2020); Savage 2020, The Crypt Gallery, London (2020); Inhabiting the Dome, Whiteleys, London (2019); and the solo exhibition Skins x Eccleston Yards, London (2018). Her awards and residencies include the Col Art Residency in London (2021), the Cass Art Prize (2017), and the Joya: AiR Residency in Spain (2019).