Open from 22 April – 3 May 2013
and presented by Mark Mitchell Paintings & Drawings
at 17 Avery Row, Brook Street, London W1K 4BF
Stephen Rose’s work is a wonderfully contemporary take on the classical tradition of still life painting.
He has learnt from masters such as Chardin in France, Cotán in Spain and the 17th century Dutch school, absorbing their technique of elevating mundane and humble articles – fruit, vegetables, plastic wrappings, crumpled paper and foil – into arrangements of transcendent grace and beauty.
Although his models are antique and European, these are essentially British paintings, taking the products and packaging of the modern supermarket, so familiar in our every-day lives, and endowing them with a profound and moving significance. Ephemeral items such as elastic bands and cardboard egg trays are beautifully and lovingly observed, and given the validity of objets d’art; fading leaves and worn possessions are imbued with a poignant realization of transience and mortality.
His backgrounds are enigmatic, set in a vibrating space of atmosphere and light which cannot be read; these are apparently simple still life compositions which evoke a sense of timelessness and monumentality… yet they are also supremely decorative pictures, rejoicing in the sensuous play of colour, the texture of paint and the tooth of the canvas.