12X12
a studio based project spread over two years from December 2008 to September 2010.
Experimental and process based.

Stillness is not evident here.
Stephen Carley is not still. There is no sense of stillness in Carley’s work.
His studio is static but not still. Pause and hesitation are replaced by a stinging visual energy.
Space is filled with thought, image, text, sound. An atmosphere of receptive alertness hangs within the room.

Stephen Carley is a UK based artist. Over the course of the year he is opening up his studio to create twelve intimate and unique site specific exhibitions.
I went to find out more.

As I walk through the studio door I experience an overwhelming sense of the artists urgency to project ideas. Surfaces are gouged and materials burnt, paint is sprayed across wood and dust is fixed onto rubber structures. Sounds trickle from a corner of the room and images blink and flicker on the floor. There is a discordance to the sheer quantity of media used here, and yet a preciseness of hand connects the work, pulling it together to dilute the chaos and sharpen the tone.
Within the visual cacophony of 12x12x8 I find a text piece that articulates this perfectly.
Liberty, is written in water on the studio floor.
Not fluid and without boundary but captured precisely and ingeniously, distilling a chaotic, multi
layered concept into a most simple and beautiful end.

The diversity of material and the way that the work is presented reflects the way Carley talks. The work on display links with the way he behaves in my company; sharing ideas emphatically, projecting every thought and responding to each fragment of a comment, editing and rephrasing a sentence to ensure that it’s received in a particular way. He is rarely still and I’m wondering whether all artist’s studios are so autobiographical.

Andrea Hadley Johnson, Curator at Derby Museums and Art Gallery, writing for artfractures journal issue three spring 2010. www.artfractures.com