Stephen Siwiak

My current practice is essentially focused on the human form and more precisely the human head. I have explored ideas and notions surrounding the perceived representation of the head, as in portraiture or more concisely to convey the objectivity of the subject, rather than the subjectivity of the sitter. I agreed with Gerhard Richter's statement, 'I don't think the painter need see or know his sitter. A portrait must not express anything of the sitter's soul, essence or character'. Of course this can be interpreted as a contradictory statement in that portraits are by their very nature bursting with, 'soul, essence and character'. This is a notion at odds with itself. Therefore the drawings I have made are not portraits and are not concerned with character, personality or identity and deny any reference to social reality. I have specifically used heads as a motif, with the intention to fully exploit a wide range of emotive responses, which when juxtaposed with the analytical processes of looking and drawing further reinforces opposing elements. It is within this contradictory concept of a 'portrait' that further opposing elements are introduced, amid a series of clashing and discordant opposites. The drawings appear at first sight, easy and uncomplicated to the viewer. I have attempted to incorporate conflicting and contradictory elements into the work, which may communicate subconsciously and combine to create anxiety and unease. It is this combination, married with a sense of peace and repose, which creates an undercurrent of edginess and constrained energy...darkness and light, movement and stillness, eternity and impermanence, systematic and chaotic, life and death..a surface tension. Eyes Closed 'darkness attracted him as much as the light..the darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we carry within us..to avoid looking at him, she closed her eyes. But for her, it meant a disagreement with what she saw, the negation of what was seen and the refusal to see'. (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984) Looking 'image-making begins with interrogating appearances and making marks..to draw is not only to measure and put down, it is to receive. When the intensity of looking reaches a certain degree, one becomes aware of an equally intense energy coming towards one through the appearance of whatever it is one is scrutinising'. (John Berger, Berger on Drawing, 2007) Synthesis '..drawing as being between the conscious and the unconscious, between the intuitive and the intentional, as floating between control and uncontrollable' (Vong Phaophanit, The Centre for Drawing; The First Year, 2001) read full statement

Location Preston, North West