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The York College Gallery is hosting its latest exhibition, ‘Estate’ by Scottish artist Charlie Stiven. ESTATE depicts a response to the current uncertainties surrounding the economic climate throughout Europe, reflecting the state of flux and tension which has created significant difficulties across the continent and which potentially will affect the conditions and thinking of every individual within this ‘collective’.

Having visited a number of sites throughout Europe, Stiven built an architectural model based on a generic industrial estate, the kind of environment common in the outskirts of any town or city, designed for function rather that aesthetics, unremarkable, unnoticed. . . . He then used this construction as the setting for a series of photographic tableaus, orchestrating lighting and atmospherics, focusing on detail, and suggesting but not showing narrative & incident. The black & white format of the photographs is employed both to reflect the epic nature of our present circumstance, ie – it borrows from the cinematic drama of film noir, and at the same time is intended to give the images a documentary atmospheric – this is not art, this is life.


The images are intended to create a slow. ‘double take’ response, recognition between real and manufactured delayed, so that the realisation that what one is seeing is not ‘real’, but ‘made’, will prompt metaphorical consideration of Stiven’s point and purpose, - that it is worth the effort to look really hard at things, to truly investigate, . . . in order to truly understand.

Charlie Stiven was born in Aberdeen and graduated in Drawing & Painting from Edinburgh College of Art. Over the past 30 years his work has been shown widely in the U.K., Europe and the USA, and is held in numerous public and private collections.

His most recent solo exhibition, ‘Model & Metaphor’ was held at Graficki Kolectiv in Belgrade in 2013. In recent years he has had solo shows in Bern, Wroclaw, New York, Basel and Edinburgh, and been involved in group exhibitions in Boston, St Louis, New York, Madrid, London, Karlsruhe, Olsztyn, Zurich & Seoul.


He has received a variety of awards and prizes including those from the Greenshields Foundation of Montreal, I.A.A.B. Basel, and The British Council. He has held UNESCO supported artist residencies in Novi Pazar and Studenica, Serbia, and is an elected Academician of The Royal Scottish Academy. Work was recently included in ‘Drawing – Space, Form & Expression’, published in association with The Drawing Centre, New York. He is a past jury member of the Polish International Drawing Biennale.

Charlie Stiven lives and works in Edinburgh, where he is a Lecturer and Final Year Co-ordinator in Painting at Edinburgh College of Art. In recent years has also instigated projects with students from the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Stuttgart, and the Universitat der Kunst, Berlin.

ESTATE, in the York College Gallery is FREE and runs from 3rd November to 18th December 2014. The Gallery is open Monday to Friday (9am – 5pm) and Saturday (9am – 12noon).

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