exploring the world of Mary stephenson.

Mary Stephenson presents ‘Suddener Than We Fancy’, the first solo show in the Incubator 22 series running every day 12pm-7pm until Sunday 1 May at 2 Chiltern Street, London.

We were lucky enough for Mary to walk us through her vibrant, dreamy show. A completely new body of work, all created this year and marking a shift away from paintings with figures into the limitless world of the unconscious…

The themes of the work centre around the space between the unconscious and the woken world, and the space between those two places.

I used to do more populated paintings, but these have no figures in them at all, so they become sparse and ask the viewer to allow the painting to feed on their unconscious, and make their own conclusions.

The paintings work in cohesion to present a dream-like world. One where you as the viewer piece together the picture from something you’ve sort-of seen before whether in real life, on TV, or in a dream. In that way each of the paintings becomes personal to the viewer and evokes different emotions on each glance.

A lot of the work talks of fertile spaces and paintings talking about the unconscious being this fertile ground, so the light coming into the paintings alludes to that as a space to grow in. They become quite evocative in that sense. I’m interest in this theme of consumption, and the way we feed on everything that’s going on in the world and how it’s limitless. The colours become kind of dusty and frayed to add to that.

Light floods through the window of the ground floor casting interesting shadows, and adding to the mysterious, hazy effects of the rich yellows in these cinematic pieces.

The panoramics, actually work really well with the space – that never happens! It’s been so nice working towards a show for so many months and then you see it all come together and it’s totally different to the studio.

Into a darkly painted back room and we find ‘Yellow’, the lead image from the show’s invitation, hanging on its own. An individual piece that brings a different reaction from everyone who sees it…

Some people see it as an arsehole, some people see it as a flower. It depends, it’s like a litmus test for people. He’s quite intense on his own! We thought he’d have a whole room to himself as he’s kind of unusual. But again it alludes to this unknown space around consumption.

Mary gives her works a soul and, it seems, a sex…

It’s really Freudian that they’re all men!

'Suddener Than We Fancy' runs until Sunday 1 May 7pm and is open from midday each day. It is well worth a visit.

Ask nicely and you’ll get a free can of Loah while you peruse Mary’s rich, illusory work.