The painting Item #10, one of many recent experiments in painting for Stephens, is an assemblage of actions and decision-making sandwiched together. It is a narrative of process, constructed in a way that makes the steps involved in executing the work transparent. Item #10 brings together wit, humour, poetics and formalism, and is an attempt to attain no conclusion but the leap alone.
Justin Stephens currently lives and works in Montreal. He is a graduate from Concordia University and has lived in Australia for three years. Stephens’ art practice is both personal and critical. His work is a pared down formalism that simultaneously unites precision and the abandonment of control. Largely a meditation on the creative/uncreative aspects of the studio, he often examines painting, communication and self-reference. His approach is experimental and he employs a new strategy for each piece. Working fast and in a reductive manner, his paintings are of brief economical gestures that seemingly all speak at once, leaving behind a leftover trace of a performance.
He has been short-listed in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition two times, exhibited at Mercer Union, Toronto, Galerie B-312, Galerie Clark and Quartier Éphémère, Montreal, and First Draft gallery, Sydney, Australia. He has recently participated in the ARC biennial at the Queensland University Art Gallery, Australia and was artist in residence at Point Éphémère in Paris. Justin Stephens’ work can be found in public collections such as the Royal Bank of Canada, Collection Prêts d’œuvres d’art du Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and in private collections internationally including Australia, Canada, France and the United States.