Amy Stephens' work is fundamentally sculptural in both its form and content, taking for its starting point the tactile and expressive qualities of a range of materials. Contrasting the angularity of wood and metal with the soft tactility of fabric and flock, her assemblages occupy a space between the abstract and the associative, and between seduction and control. Sparse and inherently structural, they have a strong architectural presence and make a conscious nod to Modernist or Minimalist sculptural traditions. Rendering materials and objects found in nature through industrial processes such as bronze casting and wood planing, Stephens highlights the tension between the natural world and artificial methods of production. In this way the artist explores the symbiotic relationship between nature and human agency, and draws attention to their tenuous interrelationship through the creation of objects that are at once beautiful and threatening.
Stephens' sculptures are often a direct response to the architectural spaces in which they are exhibited, and arrest the viewer through their elemental physicality. They also uncannily hint at recognisable objects and shapes through elegant juxtapositions; some have an anthropomorphic quality, their lines and junctures approximating limbs and joints, while others evoke the animal world through appropriated objects such as bronzed deer antlers. The artist's sensibility and thought process can be seen within the subtle, economic use of individually produced elements, and their arrangement within purposeful and engaging compositions. As powerful groupings, they announce the power of the natural world through the language of manufacture, and provoke a dialogue of materials and forms that demands the viewer's attention.
- Dr Lara Eggleton
Art Historian and Critic