Everything is an object and we’re all a mysterious collection of them.
a Topp’s trading card signed by that favorite sports athlete shoved into the spokes of a bicycle, a bag of Andy Capp’s Hot Fries from the ice rink; your special penny; a teddy bear missing a nose due to over excessive kisses; cults; all religions; cold glasses of milk; a moment of regret; blanket forts; a quartz crystal; the rare black witch moth (ascalapha odorata); a stranger’s Polaroid; the only gold plated VHS in the world; a chewed drafting pencil with embedded histories; cinephilism; first kisses; bruises and scars.
Our attraction to objects is often mysterious. It is here in this mysterious zone of attraction, where I seek to reveal the omen in the ordinary.
From an auctioned set of wisdom teeth to a piece of lunar meteorite, my works, composed from appropriated, altered and cast materials, evoke the complex visual experience culled from subcultures of the 1970s-1990s.
Cloaked in a psychotronic aesthetic of filmic culture, these carefully considered objects are sourced for their ritualistic and cult potential to create new autonomous relics that archive the VHS era.
Through the process of melting and recasting, my materials are alchemically transformed. Muted by nostalgia, these objects gain new context while securing the essence of the origin.
Michael E. Stephen is an Austin, TX based artist working in the expanded fields of sculpture and video. He received his BFA in Sculpture at the University of Texas at Tyler in 2009, and his MFA in Sculpture/Studio Arts at the University of Oregon in 2013. His work has been exhibited in various national and international venues including Artspace 111 in Fort Worth, TX; Punch Gallery in Seattle, WA; Pump Projects in Austin, TX; Demo Projects in Springfield, IL; Box13 Art Space in Houston, TX; Scope Art in Miami, FL; Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts in Los Angeles, CA; Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, OR; C3:Initiative in Portland, OR; City Union Rotunda Gallery in Lincoln, NB; Peoria Art Guild in Peoria, IL; Kino Kino Center for Art and Film in Sandnes, Norway and the LivinGallery in Lecce, Italy. His website can be found at: http://michaelestephen.com/