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Garlic and Gasoline | Brian Keith Stephens

Three years after his debut at his Italian Gallery, the American painter Brian Keith Stephens returns to PUNTO SULL’ARTE with a new body of work. Faithful to his textured, dynamic, and expressive brush strokes, at once vibrant and blurred, the artist exposes us to another gaze on nature. His show features uninhabited landscapes and still-lifes as well as diverse representations of animal form. Stripped of naturalism, Stephens’ cheetahs, elephants, and zebras play with our perception. Animals lie doubled across their mirror image, repeat in modules, and emerge like figures in a procession across low-lying horizons, marked by palm trees or standing out against incongruous patterns that emphasize their allegorical scope. In this way, the artist reveals a symbology that through the presence of the animal seeks to outline human psychology.

From here also comes the title, enigmatic and playful, “Garlic and gasoline”. The title relates to contrasting but coexisting energies, one organic one mechanical, different but both quite intense like a passion for good food or a passion for exquisite cars. Manifesting often in opposite activities: the joy of meeting for pasta with friends juxtaposed against the thrill of a speeding car. These sensations appear on Stephens’ canvases taking the form of a powerful but calm elephant, perhaps, or a slick, swift panther.


Published on 17/05/2023