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STEPHEN ROLFE POWELL


230 West Superior Street Chicago, IL 60654 | T 312.573.1400 F 312.573.0575 www.kensaundersgallery.com | Info@kensaundersgallery.com

Š 2011 Ken Saunders Gallery Printed and bound in the United States of America, all rights reserved. Photography by David Harpe Book Design by Jo-Nell Sieren First Edition: June 2011


STEPHEN ROLFE POWELL


Copious Coy Pirouette, 2011 4.5 x 17.5 x 17.5 inches 4


The works by Stephen Powell that we are all familiar with have always been over the top blown glass creations that are a sly mix of humor and slight of hand virtuosity. With their suggestive figurative features and impossibly ambitious scale these works were Stephen’s signature creations. The acclaim these works received was truly deserved. Powell’s consummate skills as an artist and craftsman have been acknowledged.

Now challenged to create something fresh for a new audience Powell has returned to a far smaller form, more intimate in scale but even more intense in his use of color. These new works are varied in shape, more so than at any point in his career but they remain absolutely signature work, ranking with his best efforts.

I am personally thrilled to be able to present this exhibition of Stephen Powell’s latest work and publish this catalogue documenting the show.

Ken Saunders


Lascivious Manic Gaze, 2011 23 x 11 x 4.5 inches 8


Swirling Cherry Tickle, 2011 9.125 x 14.75 x 14.75 inches 12


Omnious Blue Vertigo, 2010 4.5 x 17.5 x 17.5 inches 14


Teasing Rainbow Slicker, 2011 7.125 x 19.5 x 19.5 inches 16


Honey Nippled Gaze, 2011 40.25 x 26.5 x 16.25 inches 18


Dawning Topaz Shrug, 2010 19.5 x 15.5 x 5.5 inches 20


Dawning Coy Bang, 2010 9.75 x 16.5 x 16.5 inches 23


Frenetic Crying Truth, 2011 40.25 x 24.25 x 13.25 inches 26


Slithering Lime Blaze, 2011 8 x 20.5 x 19.5 inches 30


Laconic Aqua Secret, 2011 12 x 12 x 12 inches 32


Blue Twister Dusk, 2011 12 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches 35


Naive Vertigo Glare, 2011 5.75 x 19.25 x 19.25 inches 36


Bodacious Peeking Striper, 2011 38.75 x 27.5 x 17.25 inches 38


Flirting Torrid Swoon, 2011 21.5 x 14 x 3.75 inches 42


Nurturing Bombastic Gig, 2010 10.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches 44


Buttery Spanking Breeze, 2010 37.5 x 23.5 x 13 inches 46


Torrid Citrus Nudge, 2011 26.5 x 20.5 x 19 inches 50


Cherry Puffy Puff, 2011 26 x 21.5 x 18.75 inches 52


Jealous Frantic Striker, 2010 41.25 x 24.25 x 15.75 inches 56


My life has become more symmetrical or balanced in the last ten years as I have gotten married, had two sons and aged. In contrast, my work has become asymmetrical and a little bit out of control. Before that much of my life was in flux and I depended on the symmetry and balance in my work to keep me grounded or centered. Having children also influenced my work towards more dynamic pieces that are less formal and more sculptural. I am intrigued by shapes that are formed by growth or other forces of nature that are swollen or puffed in to irregular shapes. I am as fascinated by the shapes of okra and tomatoes from my garden as I am by the shapes of people’s heads and bodies. I particularly notice the shape of the human forehead. With these newest pieces we are pushing the limits of the hot-making process that we have developed. We are exaggerating the shapes to an extreme that has resulted in new postures and gestures. The pieces are about life, movement, color and beauty. In this troubled time with so many natural disasters and war, I hope my work can furnish a refuge or, at least, a temporary escape to a life affirming experience. My work is mostly about color. The artists that have the most influence on my work are Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Claude Monet, and Georges Seurat. In addition to these influences, I have always been drawn to the physicalness and directness of Jackson Pollock. I was drawn to the process of glassblowing because of the immediacy and intensity. I have always been something of a pyromaniac, as my background in ceramics was mostly involved with the raku firing. I do have a love of fire. As for the pieces, I hope that my color combinations are unique and that they trigger emotive reactions. The shapes of my pieces are influenced by the gestures and postures of the human figure. A final element of my work that is often overlooked is the texture created by the thousands of colored beads applied to the surface. Museums and galleries may not like it, but I encourage viewers to touch my pieces. I must admit that I take a certain delight in catching a viewer fondling a piece of mine. This newest work reflects a blend of the asymmetry and sculptural concerns of my recent work with the vessel tradition of my older work. I am hoping to maintain the gestural, more dynamic feel of the previous work and combine it with a more classical pose. The asymmetry is freeing and allows for more expressive forms. This asymmetry is tempered by the order of the pattern and the physical balance of the piece.


Lino Tagliapietra and Stephen Powell. 69


Stephen, his wife, Shelly, and sons, Zachary Hawk and Oliver Blue. 71


STEPHEN ROLFE POWELL Born: 1951 Birmingham, Alabama EDUCATION 1983 1980 1974

MFA Louisiana State University Teaching Certificate, Birmingham-Southern College BFA, Centre College

MUSEUM COLLECTIONS Racine Art Museum Hunter Museum of American Art Muskegon Museum of Art Montgomery Museum of Fine Art The Corning Museum of Glass Cincinnati Art Museum Grounds For Sculpture Wustum Museum of Fine Arts Cleveland Museum of Art Detroit Institute of Arts Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery Sydney College of Art The Auckland Museum Huntsville Museum of Art Baptist Hospital/Desoto Regent Hotel Mobile Museum of Fine Art Birmingham Museum of Art Hermitage Museum Red May Glass Museum Lvov Art Institute Haystack Mountain School Lamar Dodd Art Center Centre College Adele and Leonard Leight Collection Providian Corporation Humana Corporation Tropican Corporation Donnelley Printing Corporation

Racine, Wisconsin Chattanooga, Tennessee Muskegon, Michigan Montgomery, Alabama Corning, New York Cincinnati, Ohio Hamilton, New Jersey Racine, Wisconsin Cleveland, Ohio Detroit, Michigan Wagga Wagga, Australia Sydney, Australia Auckland, New Zealand Huntsville, Alabama South Haven, Mississippi Le Plume, Hong Kong Mobile, Alabama Birmingham, Alabama St. Petersburg, Russia Vishny Volochok, Russia Lvov, Ukraine Deer Isle, Maine LaGrange, Georgia Danville, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky St. Petersburg, Florida Chicago, Illinois


KEN SAUNDERS GALLERY

U.S. $65.95


Stephen Powell