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Rick Stevens was born in Sparta, Michigan and currently lives and works in New Mexico, USA. He studied at Grand Rapids College, Michigan (1977-79), Kendall School of Design (1979-81) and Aquinas College, Michigan (1982).
Rick Stevens' painting-based practice combines an interest in nature and science. He has a mystical approach to abstraction that moves beyond the constraints of direct representation, to produce revelatory expressions of his own experiences within the natural world.
Stevens' work is influenced by Eastern philosophies, the notions of uncertainty and flux associated with Quantum Physics, as well as the Nineteenth Century American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, whose philosophy of Transcendentalism proffered intuition over logic, whilst upholding a deep appreciation for nature. Stevens also draws inspiration from some British landscape painters such as Fred Cuming and Tom Fairs.
Exploring the possibilities of colour, light, texture and space, Stevens has described his working process as a matter of “projecting intention, then letting go of fixed ideas.” He interprets the landscape with varying degrees of abstraction, using a variety of media, including oil paint, oil stick, wax, gold leaf, sand, gauze and burlap. He often works directly in the landscape en plein air; which he says provides particular sorts of dynamics and has within his practice developed a well-known visual vocabulary of shapes and patterns derived from the natural world, but which also suggest something beyond what is visible to the naked eye.
Raised in an artistic household, Stevens’ artist father introduced him to landscape painting from a young age. A year spent in an isolated cabin in the forests of northern Michigan in 1984 further strengthened his reverence for the sublime energy, ephemerality and mystery of Earth’s fragile ecosystems. Stevens describes his practice as an open window to other realms. Through it, he attempts to make visible the underlying structure of the world around us, merging the tangible with expressions of the imperceptible, and revealing in paint the transcendent energies that engage us all in what Stevens describes as a “never-ending cosmic dance.”
Rick Stevens’ work has been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and in London, including: Spring Collection, NoonPowell Gallery, London (2022); Sanctuary in Light, Santa Fe, NM (2022); Battersea Spring Fair AAF, London (2022/23); Hampstead Fair AAF, London, (2022/23); Featured Artist, Edgewood Orchard Gallery, Wisconsin (2021); Rick Stevens, Kay Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM (2021); Coors Western Art Exhibition, Denver, CO, (2021 & 2022); Rick Stevens Annual Solo Exhibition, Hunter Kirkland Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (2006 - present); Visual Variations: Figurative to Abstract, NoonPowell Gallery, Notting Hill, London (2020); Christmas Exhibition, NoonPowell Gallery, Notting Hill, London; Battersea Spring Fair AAF, London (2020). Retrospectives of his work have been presented at The Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, Indiana. Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan, mounted a solo exhibition of Stevens’ work, Realms of Nature: Unfolding Patterns. Other recent solo exhibitions include, Breathing Light, Hunter Squared Gallery, Santa Fe, (2019); Dancing in Paradox, Hunter Kirkland Contemporary, Santa Fe, (2018); Loitering in Mystery, Hunter Kirkland Contemporary, Santa Fe, (2017); Invocations, Exhibit by Aberson, Tulsa, (2016); The Nature of What Arises, Canfin Gallery, Tarrytown, (2015); Wilderness Within, Hunter Kirkland Contemporary, Santa Fe, (2014); Domain Of Intangibles, Mark Gallery, Englewood, (2013).
Stevens’ work is included in public and corporate collections throughout the United States and internationally, including; Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, Las Cruces, U.S.A; Almutiaq Group, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; World Trade Center Hotel, Beijing China; Goldman Sachs, New York, U.S.A; Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, U.S.A; and Muskegon Museum of Art, MGrand Valley State University, Michigan, U.S.A.