Stephen Todd is a Sheffield based artist working primarily with seascape/landscape and the human form. His main methods of practice are painting, drawing and photographic images.
The work has a strong sense of marks and lines from the instinctive to the deliberate, often incorporating text. It also makes direct reference to the materials being used.
Drawing is an essential part of his practice; charcoal an important medium and life drawing a discipline. He started life drawing in 1980 with John Epstein in London and continues to explore the instinctive approach he provoked.
He is interested in the historic significance of places and events. How the past is recorded and represented to determine how it is understood. How are facts constructed?
In conclusion, his work is figurative in its inspiration and he seeks to make pieces that are visually strong, aesthetic in quality and continue to affect the viewer.
“I am interested in the deliberateness of making marks on a surface, including the use of text whether legible or not; and the nature of the medium I am using i.e. a painting needs to hold within it the characteristics of paint itself, its texture, fluidity etc.. The final pieces, hopefully, have a strong sense of marks and lines and a direct use of colour. Drawing is an essential part of my work, charcoal an important medium and life drawing a basic discipline.”
“Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre“
(A Berlin Chronicle 1932, Walter Benjamin)
The landscape provides material for exploring facts and suppositions; certainty and imaginings.
It is a starting point and backdrop to find the present time and imagine a different one. This might be looking for something tranquil or something apocalyptic. It might be about the passing of time. Experimental landscapes.
The Humber Estuary is the nearest significant expanse of sea and light to Sheffield. It has an intriguing history, particularly about the defence of these lands: collapsing gun emplacements, monolithic pill boxes, forts in the estuary and lines of tank traps disappearing into the sea. It mixes raw beauty with industrial activity from oystercatchers on the mud flats to ore carriers and wind farms. It is also a place with personal family history and recollection, particularly a maritime one.
J. M. W. Turner is a great inspirtation.
“A meaningful connection to the past demands, above all, active engagement. It demands imagination and empathy, …. We must enter past worlds with curiosity and respect. When we do this, the reveals are considerable”(What is History, G. Lerner)