Clintel Steed: Endymion

Recent Paintings September 7 - October 9, 2016

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of paintings by Clintel Steed. Steed (b. 1977, Salt Lake City, Utah) lives and works in New York City.

The exhibition includes portraits, cityscapes, “transcriptions” of old master paintings, and paintings drawn from popular culture imagery. The source imagery comes from observation, from photography and news sources, and from a bifurcated tablet screen (two seemingly unrelated images side by side).

Specifically, his recent work includes paintings of a curved skyscraper in Beijing, a skyline seen from Bushwick, homages to two paintings by Peter Paul Rubens: “Fall of the Damned” (c. 1620), and “Diana Returning from the Hunt” (c. 1615); two portraits of a friend, paintings of Antman and “American Pharoah” – the Triple Crown winning racehorse.

Steed’s work displays an explosive fracturing of forms, a relentless, in-your-face energy, a pulsating, restless organization of form, and a raw paint handling. His colors can be atonal and very contemporary – especially the hot pink accents that suggest acrylic and popular imagery. They have a milky, gritty facture suggesting pollution and smog hanging over our world, both literally and metaphorically. At the same time, Steed can be lyrical, as his marks traces the running of a horse, and the humanity and sensitive line with which he articulates the shape of a head and facial features.

Steed has said that his work is “about the explosion of an image and the impact that it makes… I use images of war and disaster, politics and gossip. I paint about the feeling of being swallowed up, the feeling that in order to have power, you need to have money.” He made a series of paintings about the destruction from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and recent work used news images from the Baltimore riots.

Steed’s paintings are often complex bundles of energy, which is probably what connects him to a painter like Rubens. This is also why he makes electronic images (tablet screens, computer screens) a subject matter. He has painted aerial city views, with tight networks of skyscrapers and highways. He reflects on the nature of contemporary life, the constant interruptions and the flooding of our image banks. At the same time, his work reads as a manifesto on the primacy of human contact, touch, physical materiality, and the importance of love and the nuclear family. (In other work, he has depicted his pregnant partner, his young child, and himself with his partner and daughter.)

Steed received his BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and his MFA from Indiana University. He also did advanced studies at the New York Studio School, working closely with Graham Nickson. He was part of a two-person exhibition, with painter Todd Bienvenu, at SHFAP in 2015. His work was included in recent group exhibitions at Regina Rex Gallery and Life on Mars Gallery. He was included in the 2015 American Academy of Arts and Letters Invitational Exhibition, and won their John Koch Award. He recently curated an ambitious exhibition of contemporary figurative painting, “Human Mysteries” (June-July 2016), at the Temporary Storage Gallery of Brooklyn Fire Proof, a creative spaces company in Brooklyn. This is SHFAP’s first one-person show with Steed.