Mary Stephenson

Mary Stephenson (b. 1989) lives and works in London. Her canvases are located in the carnivalesque, as figures and objects play, dance, and drink in a frenzied choreography. Yet these scenes are simultaneously undercut with a mood of tension and apprehension, a distinctive sinister comedy which stems from a cast of characters who vie for attention with anthropomorphised objects: a sad bowl of olives, a startled fork, a wistful piece of Stilton. They punctuate these spaces in a playful attempt to explore the unseen emotions and social tensions that loom in the spaces between people.  

Chaotic and disordered spaces reflect feelings of drunkenness and unease  a sense of being out of control. These lively and darkly humorous paintings are a cathartic playground for Stephenson, in which she explores the competing desires and fears experienced in social situations. Representations of psychological escapism play across the paintings, as characters seek refuge in the embrace of a pillow, a meal, a lover.  




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