Stephanie Rew

Biography

Stephanie Rew was raised in the historic city of Edinburgh, Scotland leaving for Dundee in 1994 to study at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. After graduating she returned to her hometown for a few years before moving to Brighton in 1996. Work and the pursuit of gallery representation took her to London in 1998 where she held the first of 3 successful exhibitions before moving back to Edinburgh in 2002. She lives with her husband Tom and two children and works full time as a painter in her studio in the Leith Shore area of Edinburgh.

She first became interested in drawing and painting at an early age, showing ability beyond her years. Drawing images from memory kept her amused through out her childhood and once she reached her final years at high school it was obvious that art college beckoned. She enrolled at Duncan of Jordanstone in 1990 and followed her passion for figurative painting – citing Alison Watt and Jenny Saville as her inspiration at that time. As well as concentrating on life drawing and paintings she also sat in and sketched with the Dundee Repertory Dance Company during rehearsals, which started a relationship with dance and her paintings.

Since graduating, her career path took her to Brighton where she involved herself with the Arts Festival there, organising and hanging large group shows in empty office buildings. This gave her the first chance since college to paint full time and exhibit her work. These works lead to John Lewis Partnership taking 50 original charcoal drawings of her dancers to sell at their flagship Oxford Street Store. The funds raised by this, in turn, helped her put together her first solo show at the Sussex Arts Club and found a London gallery to represent her. Since then she has continued to widen her audience, winning the Elizabeth Greenshields Award in 1995 and the RGI New Artist Award 2009 and acquiring an ever growing list of collectors – P&O Ferries, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered Bank to name a few. She exhibits across the UK and sells well in the US also.

Her primary subject matter is the female figure. Always painted with a sense of ambiguity, faces half hidden with the human form often just emerging from the darkness. The nude was a predominant motif to her work and has developed using drapery and pattern in combination with the figure. Tone and form as well as strong light and colour is what inspires her, concentrating on the juxtaposition of tonality and texture whilst keeping a private, reflective mood with the work. The Kimono is a prominent motif in her work – as they are such uniquely beautiful objects which bring a design and pattern to her compositions.

Recently she has returned to her interest in dance and has been working with an aerial dancer in Edinburgh, striving to capture in oil paint, the elegance and strength to be found in this type of dance.

Stephanie has always been heavily influences by the Baroque style of oil painting and utilises a combination of Old Masters techniques with her own. Her use of glazes is important to the finished article – creating an inner glow to he work. Caravaggio’s trademark use of chiaroscuro and strong colour created by glazing techniques has inspired her work for the last decade.

Comments on Stephanie’s Art

“The elegance and serenity captured is complimented by her lightness of hand to show delicate fabrics draped across the figures.”
Jennifer Harper, Homeplus Scotland

“Stephanie is consistently pushing her own boundaries, and next plans to incorporate Venetian masks into her work, another example of her constant determination to stretch and challenge her skills. The results of this conviction are visually arresting.”
Jennifer Harper, Homeplus Scotland

“Art Critics have called Scottish painter, Stephanie Rew, a breakaway artist and one of the most promising young figurative painters in the world”
S. Goldstein, Collector, New York

“The human form is probably
the strongest and most potent
symbol we have. Why not use it
to convey something
beautiful.”


Artist Statement

My primary subject matter is the female figure. Always painted with a sense of ambiguity; faces half hidden, with the human form often just emerging from the darkness. The human anatomy is the predominant motif to my work and I have developed my style with the using drapery and pattern in combination with the figure.  The hidden portrait is another recurring theme, often concealing the identiries of the sitters behind masks, giving only the smallest of glimpses from the back. This allows the viewer to put their own stories and personalities into the work.

The Kimono is a prominent element in my art. Tthey are such uniquely beautiful objects which help to bring design and pattern into my compositions. The rendering of the many different textures and fabrics found in these garments continues to challenge my skills as an oil painter. I have a strong interest in the design and tradition of the Kimono –  this item of clothing becoming a work of art in its own right – reflecting the Japanese culture and beliefs in its designs and symbolism, and ultimately the way it is worn. This love of the Japanese style began when I discovered J.A.M. Whistler’s paintings and sourced his inspiration from the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. This has had a lasting affect on the composition and mood in my art.

I have always been heavily influenced by the Baroque style of oil painting and utilise a combination of Old Masters techniques with my own. The practice of glazing is important to the finished article – creating the illusion of an inner glow to the paint. Caravaggio’s trademark use of chiaroscuro and strong colour created by glazing techniques has inspired my work for the last decade. My journey as an artist is largely driven by the need to improve my skills as a painter.

Examples of work by Stephanie Rew

Stephanie-Rew-Daydreamer Stephanie-Rew-White-Cotton Steph-Rew-Scarlet-Silk Steph Rew Study for White Room I Steph Rew Study for White Magnolia with silver leaf Steph Rew White jasmine II Stephanie Rew White gardenia II Steph-Rew-Green-Kimono-reclining
Daydreamer White Cotton, White Silk Scarlet Silk Study for White Room I Study for White Magnolia (with silver leaf) White jasmine II White gardenia II Reclining on Green Furisode Kimono

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