Anne hayden stevens
December 7, 2019 - December 13, 2019
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
The Philosopher Walks, 2019
Archival prints with spray paint 2019
Five panels (L to R): Refuge, Waterfall, Mountains, Rockfall, Bridge
These pieces are archival prints built from painting fragments that have been touched with spray paint. They are based on a yearlong study of Chinese landscape painting. How things feel, versus how they appear, is a central concern of Chinese landscape painting, and has been for centuries. As I read and I studied I asked: How do these paintings work, both formally and emotionally? Who made them? What do the elements included in the paintings mean?
I have been able to answer most of my questions, but they led to more questions. Where are the women painters in this history? Where are the female scholars and philosophers? Does the art historical record even question the absence of women artists and thinkers in this tradition?
As I studied, I inserted a character into the paintings that was absent from the story I was reading. She is a female philosopher who walks the mountains, thinking and breathing, sweating and being scared: being human. I know she was there then, so I added her now.
Typically the landscape and the horizon reinforce our sense of order. Gravity reigns. Trees and rocks and water all fall in a set of predictable lines, drawn to the core of the earth. Our bodies are also dictated by the gravitational pull.
Our minds, meanwhile, are unconstrained by gravity. We think in giant leaps and bounds, across time, incessantly observing, ruminating, dreaming. Our mind is free to wander anywhere.
In this work, the Philosopher walks as the world falls away around her. The mountains shear off the side of the path, tumbling against trees and rocks and water. Clouds of mist rear up and mask the mountains still intact in the distance. The world she feels is more infinite and intimate than the world she sees.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Anne Hayden Stevens is a painter and printmaker living outside Chicago, IL. She has an MA in Visual Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and a BFA in Printmaking and Drawing from California College of the Arts.
Hayden Stevens’ work ranges across painting, drawing, printmaking and public art. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago at the Evanston Art Center, Governor's State University Art Gallery, The Koehnline Museum of Art, and at the Harold Washington Library Center during Chicago Artists Month. Public art pieces are located on Rainier Avenue South in Seattle, the Seattle Municipal Tower, and the University of Washington.