Todd Bienvenu Clintel Steed

TODD BIENVENU and CLINTEL STEED June 17 - July 31, 2015

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects is proud to present a two-person exhibition of recent paintings by Todd Bienvenu and Clintel Steed. Bienvenu and Steed became close friends while attending the New York Studio School together. Stylistically they are both quintessential painterly painters, working with a rough broad facture that is very free.

Bienvenu was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and received his MFA from the New York Studio School in 2007. His paintings ironically expose the dark underbelly of American pop culture: sex, butts, drinking, babes, tattooed rockers, professional wrestling, motorcycles and apocalyptic zombies. Bienvenu’s work is driven by an intense investigation of the way painting works and a deep engagement with the art of his contemporaries as well as art history. Bienvenu is currently represented by Life on Mars Gallery in Bushwick. His work has also been included in numerous exhibitions in galleries across the country such as Centotto, Valentine, Novella, Outlet, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Sideshow and Ethan Pettit. Bienvenu has taught painting and drawing at Louisiana State University.

Clintel Steed was raised in a religious Pentecostal community in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received his MFA from Indiana University in 2001 and the New York Studio School in 2007. Steed’s bright, thickly layered paintings and deft, expressive handing of the figure call to mind Auerbach, Soutine and Picasso. Characterized by exuberant collage-like compositions, his broken-up space and fractured forms result in unusual and complex rhythms, alluding to the tumultuous complexity that prevails over our current reality.

Steed’s political subject matter is an important component of his work. His images are drawn from the recent Baltimore uprisings, the war in Afghanistan and a host of other charged political events. Steed’s paintings explore and expose the oppressive power structures that constrict his America, considering socioeconomic immobility, racial prejudice and the experience of being black in this country. As he puts it, reflecting on his childhood and upbringing, “the battle between good and evil, heaven and hell was preached all the time. This struggle is still within me, the lust for money and the battle for power. Painting these ideas and icons, in a way, helps me meditate upon the emotions they conjure in a more contemplative way.”

In 2015 Steed received the John Koch Award at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions at Knapp Gallery, PA, Borghi Fine Art, Phillips Church, Harlem and the National Academy. Please contact the gallery for further information or photographs.