A new exhibit will be coming to Australia's Backwoods Gallery in May. Titled HERO, this exhibition will feature the launch of a new action figure toy range by Stephen Ives, one off sculptures complete with accessories.
Stephen Ives work is about contrast and balance and the meaning within the juxtaposition, whether it is the bringing together of disparate ideas or the conjunction of objects, themes, colours or overall placement. On the surface level aesthetic and skill need to be balanced, the integrity of the structure fusing with overall feel creating strength flow and 'beauty'. The surface then has to be balanced with the content, the underlying conceptual structure supporting the roof of craftsmanship. Belief has to be suspended to enter the worlds Stephen creates, (when the audience no longer see the puppets strings they will then believe the puppet is real), the audience can then be taken on the journey the artist wishes them to experience. Of course if the journey is dull no amount of surface glitz will make it better. A good idea has to have form that is true.
The best way to describe the process by which Stephen Ives thinks and works is to use the French word bricolage (a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things), his work is entirely immersed in this concept. Ideas are distilled from an experiential, mental, historical and cultural grab bag and constructed from a hyper Lego pile of toys, scrap, junk and purpose bought materials that fill his studio. Concepts are edited and refined, materials are collected, cut, morphed, distorted sometimes discarded and eventually brought together in an homogenous whole that is both a mental thought form and a candy apple treat.