Santa Fe-based artist Rick Stevens’s latest body of work brings scenes of immersive wilderness and lush, abundant flora to Kay Contemporary Art on historic Canyon Road.
Rick Stevens: Sanctuary of Light
July 1–15, 2022
Kay Contemporary Art, Santa Fe
“I think of nature as a continuous flow of shapes and patterns of energy that has, or more precisely is, an intelligent force. There has been a resurgence in the field of science (especially in physics) that corresponds with the domain of the mystics. Matter and energy are interchangeable, all the forces and particles in nature are one, just different ripples on the ocean of consciousness: a unified field.” —Rick Stevens
The mystical forest has been the life-long subject of Rick Stevens’s paintings and his constant companion. The knowledge this artist gains by spending time in nature is immense. As a child growing up in Sparta, Michigan, he and his father would explore the forests near their home. The forest provided a place of discovery and wonder, stirring the imagination. They would spend the day in the forest, his father painting and young Rick playing within the lush, abundant flora, finding respite under the canopy of trees. As a young adult emulating his father, Stevens began painting on their treks in nature and found within it a way to express himself. After finishing his BFA in painting, Stevens retreated to an isolated cabin in northern Michigan to meditate and absorb knowledge that could only be found within nature. He cites these years in the wilderness as having the most significant impact on his work and the time that deepened his understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.
Now living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Rick Stevens has captivated art enthusiasts and collectors alike. You will find the artist hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest and camping along river streams. This is an artist who finds himself most comfortable in nature. “The forest has been my primary subject of painting. Aspen trees are particularly spectacular here in Santa Fe,” he says. These trees are the subject of his current exhibition, Sanctuary of Light. He loves to describe the forest as a series of overlapping lines, shapes, and patterns: atmospheric haze, movement in the sky, and dappled light on the floating leaves from the view of being immersed within the forest. In the studio, he expresses the deep space and the mystery he feels within nature. The activity of painting becomes an alchemical mixing of colors; speckled dots and lines interweave and counteract each other.
The newest paintings at Kay Contemporary Art express his deep connection and the awe of nature. Painting titles like Autumn Refuge, Amongst the Mist, and Renewal suggest an immersive experience. These paintings are color-filled and describe the poetic spatial expanse of the woodland while being rooted among boulders, tree trunks, or mountain streams. Each work is painted from the point of view of standing within and among, rarely seeing the tree tops or a horizon line; glimpsing a sliver of sky beyond, taking delight in the magnificent colors, and giving oneself up to the astonishment of the natural world.
Rick Stevens is on view from July 1 to 15, 2022 at Kay Contemporary Art, 600 Canyon Road, Santa Fe.