Using pure, bold color, delicate forms and audacious composition Gary Steer’s collection ‘Eternal Summer’ exudes a bright joy of life.Driven into this ode to the sun, the eyes are blissfully intoxicated by colors and light, daydreaming with the serene figures Steer has carved out from the sky itself, indeed the blazing light seems to come from the figures, inside out.
An intricate journey is at play, behind the apparent simplicity of the compositions, one can travel at ease from Ancient Greece to the Provence of Derain and Matisse. Time has stopped, light is here, full, nothing is missing.
“The ‘Eternal Summer’ collection was first born out of some studies I drew of various Greek and Roman statues. Armed with a bank of drawings, they became a motif running through the collection, incorporating them into the compositions upon the canvas, morphing them with flat bold blocks of colour and contemporary pattern. This practice expanded into studies of other contemporary paintings, graphic art and modern sculpture. Building up layers of acrylic and marble dust, I scratched away at the surface of the canvas to give the paintings a chalkiness in appearance, echoing the texture of the statues.
I was interested by the way that the statues could look languid, even bored, unimpressed by the thousands of eyes that stare at them every day. Putting the statues in whimsical environments with bold colour and Keith Haring style patterns gave the paintings a modernity and playful and summery nature, as did depicting them in simple line. A contradiction with the line taking a split second to execute as opposed to the statues in some cases taking years to carve out of marble or stone.
From the outset I wanted the paintings to have a certain quality of light, this is something that I had encountered in various places that I had visited over the years. Certainly in Southern Europe, South Africa, the light can have a lovely blue crispness to it on a sunny day. Hopefully this gives the collection a certain Mediterranean atmosphere."