‘Forced Collaboration’-Write up

‘Forced Collaboration’-Write up

Paul Stephenson is opening his new solo show at StolenSpace on 4th August 2016, titled ‘Forced Collaboration’.

In the run up to the opening, Shutterstock have written a fantastic article on Paul and his work.



The show comprises three bodies of work, ‘Watermark Paintings’, ‘Internet Paintings’ and ‘Reflection Paintings’, each of which explores our relationship with art in the digital age – specifically how we choose to view it using the tools now available to us. Evolving from his ‘Sous Rature’ series, which saw the artist remove elements of existing works in order to give them increased significance – purposefully selecting only those made by renowned painters – Stephenson continues to create ‘forced collaborations‘ as a means of experimenting with our interpretation of imagery.

In Watermark Paintings, Stephenson imposes a branded watermark upon works he has purchased at auction, creating a filter between the viewer and the work itself and highlighting the distance created by this process.

In Reflection Paintings, Stephenson works the viewer and their surroundings into existing, original pieces – drawing attention to the screens that have become integral to how we now all view the world. In doing so, he again explores our relationship with art, making us once removed from it and reminding us of our own existence.

In Internet Paintings, Stephenson recreates well-known works, as seen through platforms such as Google Arts & Culture’s virtual tours. Producing ‘distorted’ versions of the originals, he highlights our capacity to accept and adapt to new technologies – often without realising what is being asked of us, or how this influences the way we look at life.

Through these bodies of work, Stephenson interrogates the effect that the media through which we experience art, change our relationship with it and warp the presumed intentions of the original artist. However, Stephenson’s pieces are not intended as critiques, rather he presents them as collaborative iterations of ever-evolving works of art, believing, as Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned”.


Email contact@stolenspace.com to request a preview for the show.