April 27, 2015 - Art Gallery of Ontario - Stephen Andrews
April 27, 2015

Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews, Auditorium (detail), 2009/2015. Oil on canvas, 72 x 95 3/4 inches. Collection of The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Stephen Andrews

April 23–August 30, 2015

Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 1G4

T +1 877 225 4246 

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“I want to see what happens when you try something new. I’m less promiscuous with materials now that I’ve found paint.” 
–Stephen Andrews 

Educated as a photographer, Stephen Andrews (b. 1956) has been an artist since the late 1970s, exploring topics as varied as AIDS, surveillance, war, memory and chaos theory. Featuring works on paper, photographs, installations and 21 large paintings—six of which will make their debut at the AGO—this exhibition charts the last 15 years of Andrews’s career, paying special attention to his development as a painter. Visitors will also be introduced to Andrews’s world through a display of his sketchbooks and ceramics.  

Renowned for his drawings, collages and video work, Andrews’s decision to take up painting in the early 2000s marked a significant departure for the Toronto artist. Curated by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s curator of modern and contemporary art, the exhibition includes loans from public and private collections.

The exhibition opens with two early paintings, 10 1X 01 (2001) and A small part of something larger #1 (2001). Composed of numerous stamped dots, these unconventional portraits of the artists Colin Campbell and John Greyson capture the uneasy marriage between the mechanical and the manual in Andrews’s art. In The Quick and the Dead (2004), viewers are invited to consider differences between the digital and the handmade as Andrews meticulously recreates, with nearly 120 crayon drawings, a short film clip of an anonymous American soldier in the Iraq war.

In more recent paintings, such as Entrance/Exit (2014), Andrews begins with photos of the everyday and transforms them into stunning depictions of reflected light. Capturing familiar Toronto locations, these doorways, rail crossings and auditoriums have a dreamlike quality—the result of numerous translucent layers of paint carefully applied over pencil drawings. In the process of painting these works, Andrews builds up layers of colour over white to create a highly glossy surface through which his luminous pigment shines.

Making their debut at the AGO, Andrews’s newest series of works, “Butterfly Effect” (2014–15), features these same translucent layers of paint, here reduced to minimal rectangles of the four colours used in printing processes. These paintings take their distinctive nature from the artist’s own encounters with happenstance. In these works of the last 15 years, we find an artist exploring how this venerable medium allows us to see our image-saturated world anew.

The exhibition is on now until August 30.

Close Encounters talks series: Stephen Andrews: Windmills of my Mind
Wednesday, May 20, 7pm
Join us for an engaging discussion with Stephen Andrews as he explores the colour woodcut prints of French artist Maurice Busset. These and other “found” works will be explored in this wide-ranging talk about looking, thinking, and connecting.

About Stephen Andrews
Stephen Andrews was born in 1956 in Sarnia, Ontario. He has exhibited his work in Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Scotland, France, India and Japan. He is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver; and the Schwartz Collection, Boston, as well as numerous other public and private collections. He is represented in Canada by Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto.

Generously supported by 
Salah Bachir & Jacob Yerex
Cecily & Robert Bradshaw

Supported by
Canada Council for the Arts


Stephen Andrews at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Ontario
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