Stephen Thorpe's work begins with the intention of representing space. Drawn from childhood memories and visited places, the paintings are a meeting place for an array of visual imagery, acting as mirrors designed to unsettle one’s own sense of perceived reality, all generating a sense of displacement. As Richard Demarco stated in Art of England this year, ‘his work speaks of the human condition,’ The theatrical absurdity of the work is offered as a metaphor for everyday life, full of contradictions in both the literal and abstract. In ways both overworked and busy, the technique is precise and deliberate.
Process forms an integral role in creating the work, and this is demonstrated in the preparation of the canvas. ‘By applying multiple layers of high gloss primer and manipulating the paint as it dries, I am able to create random imperfections in the surface that may not be apparent at first glance, but reveal themselves on closer inspection.’ The result is a tension between surface and subject, between the literal and the conceptual, which is a theme that has come to characterize Thorpe's work.
Born in Margate, England (1981), Thorpe moved as a child to Scotland. Having traveled throughout his early twenties, Thorpe graduated in 2010 from Gray s School of Art in Aberdeen with a First Class Honours degree in Painting. Upon graduating, he has received the Alexandrina McKenzie Legacy and the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) New Contemporaries Award. At the New Contemporaries 2011 exhibition, Thorpe was awarded the (RSA) Sir William Gillies Bequest and the (RSA) The Skinny Award. His work has most recently featured in Saatchi Gallery Online’s top ten weekly paintings and was represented at Art Verona, Italy, in October.