‘By this River’ shows the latest body of work by the British artist Liam Stevens. The name of the show makes reference to the title of a track by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto – one of the artist’s favorites – and relates to the bodies of water he lives next to and spends time with.
Liam Stevens: “I use the term river instinctually to recall the body of water linking the spaces I spend my time. The rear of my apartment building backs onto an old basin. A relic of the industrial revolution that joins the Regent’s canal, which opened in 1801. No longer serving its industrial past, the area has now instead become a haven for wildlife, offering respite from the soaring architecture of the city. Of course, rivers and cities are inherently linked. Contributing to a convenient means of transporting heavy material in a bygone era, the natural river was fundamental. The canal also served this concept, utilizing properties of the natural world to assist the needs of the expanding capital.
My travel to and from the studio flows along the path of the canal. The morning routine, especially in the milder climes, accommodates a cycle along the old towpath for nearly all of my journey. The daily necessity of water is prevalent in my process as a painter, but it also influences the work itself. The route affords me the opportunity to look and take in its effects. The interplay of rhythm and movement is brought together with light and form from all its surroundings, affecting them with the water’s own tempo. Always moving, repeating, evolving. A mirror with a beat.
Expanding upon my show with Alzueta last year, the pieces in ‘By this River’ are made up of numerous pigment washes and rectilinear intervals on raw linen. The title also refers to a Brian Eno cover by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, whom I had the fortune to see in the Barbican, London. The effect of music in my work is undeniable. The punctuation of sound and audible motifs rendered in light is often how I visualize aspects of my practice. In parallel, I too bring together my surroundings, finally affecting my pieces with their own tempo.”
Aesence is an independent art and design publication dedicated to minimalist aesthetics. Founded out of a deep appreciation and fascination, Aesence aims to promote awareness and appreciation of minimalism in art and design.