Installation view.

Sarai Stephens, “The Swamp” (2019) oil on canvas, 54” x 84”.

A.J. Medland, Sarai Stephens, “OUTstanding Figure” (2019) newspaper pulp, drywall compound, glue, flour, recycled plastics, 68” x 42” x 16”.

A.J. Medland, “A Crossing” (2019) oil on canvas, 15” x 18”.

Sarai Stephens, “Study 1 for OUTstanding Figure” (2019) newspaper pulp, drywall compound, glue, flour, wire,
5” x 3” x 1”.

AJ Medland, “Study 2 for OUTstanding Figure” (2019) newspaper pulp, drywall compound, glue, flour, wire, 5” x 4” x 2”.

Sarai Stephens, “Study 3 for OUTstanding Figure” (2019) newspaper pulp, drywall compound, glue, flour, wire, 6” x 4 1/2” x 2”.
Sarai Stephens, “As I think to myself I grow Numb” (2019) newspaper pulp, drywall compound, glue, flour, found concrete pile, 30” x 10” x 12”.
Sarai Stephens, “I’m Real” (2018) newspaper pulp, drywall compound, glue, flour, wire, 24” x 30” x 4”. 

A.J. Medland, “Red Place” (2019) oil on canvas, 50” x 28”.


Nov 08 — Dec 09

The question still gets asked ‘what is art?’ But the subtext of that question seems to be, ‘is it real?’ Is art capable of being a medium of truth? Well, if art cannot be a medium of truth then art would only be a matter of taste, and if art was only a matter of taste, then the art spectator becomes more important than the art producer. Imagine the implications of this. Imagine an individual that cannot experience the possibilities of her own actions, the pleasure, or the limitations of them. The aesthetic relies entirely on the assumption that the individual is capable of responsibility, for producing this work, by undertaking that artistic action. Otherwise, if art is not a medium of truth, we are only made real by a Panopticon with no one sitting at the well. Art is a medium of truth when it is personal responsibility.

‘What is art?’ Art is Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. Or in the words of my favourite poet, “art is a fistfight in the orchestra pit.” ‘What is art?’ Art is writing before you learn how to read. Because before thought, it must have been poetry. If “contemporary art is an art to survive our contemporaneity” then the aesthetic is our integrity of thought outside language. Recall George W. Bush, as the primacy of language, at a podium proclaiming “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.” And if you still maintain that language is the measure of validity, do recall that a picture is worth a thousand words. Art is a stray dog, following you through a field of lilac trees on the outskirts of Vilnius. An eternal reoccurrence poised like a crossroads, as if our generosity and willingness to engage with that which offers us no utility, instead offers us a mirror to our humanity.

“really really real” (2019) by veronika teddy ivanova

A.J. Medland is a landscape painter with an interest in regionalism that keeps his subject matter local. Working in oil and mixed media, he paints from memory. Observations are filtered through a subconscious lexicon, resulting in off kilter, atmospheric images. His concerns are with how a place is used, occupied, or turned into a ‘view.’

Sarai Stephens works from gestural abstraction and a love of craft. Her overworked compositions are jarring, sensual, and humorous. Stephens often imagines herself in a cave, and what life would be like in a place that has no real light, connected to a device whose only function projects flat images of what other people in other caves are doing.

The Proposal 
by Sarai Stephens and A.J. Medland