Take this opportunity to journey into the bubblegum surrealism gallery of Stephen Gibb, where Mother Goose is turned on her head. Follow an existential Humpty Dumpty as he embodies what it means to be human today in our ever-changing world. Explore his paintings that delve into the anxieties and joys of contemporary life and unravel his musing on human behaviour, philosophy, and the innermost workings of his angular mind.
Stephen Gibb – Artist Statement
(Or, at least a feeble attempt to excuse my behaviour to those present with good taste)
My artwork weaves an eclectic tapestry of cultural and social influences. At one moment it may make a
single-punch-line comment on pop culture while the next it may construct a complex and playful diorama
probing into the outer perimeters of human nature.
My work is often categorized as pop surrealism but I’d begrudgingly prefer to tag it as existential editorial
cartoon realism, just because it sounds more intelligent and funny at the same time. The work holds
a certain reverence and faithfulness to reality mimicry but leans away enough to fall in the shadow of the
“uncanny valley*”, the area where the mind is unsettled by what looks real enough but couldn’t possible
be. It is in this realm, theoretically, that the mind’s gamma waves are super-stimulated and brain activity
resembles fireworks. I resolve that this accounts for the broad reactions my work garners from observers,
that ranges from contemptuous dismissal to enthusiastic exuberance. We are all wired differently.
The medium is the method, which has been a faithful deployment of oil painting and traditional oilpainting
techniques, such as glazing and the occasional dalliance into chiaroscuro. The richness achieved
by layers of thinned oil paint on MDF panels always adds an interesting luminous quality to the final
My direction as of late has been to devote more to composing on the panels rather than in pre-sketches.
I’m intrigued by the more spontaneous and gratifying results of ideas presenting themselves in the process
rather than in the planning, hence the falloff in the recent output of sketches. Often a core image or
concept dictates subliminally as to how the composition manifests itself.
see stephengibb.com for more
* Uncanny valley – Though originally intended to provide an insight into the disquieting human psychological reaction to
robotic design that approximates and emulates human characteristics, the concept expressed by this phrase is equally applicable
to interactions with nearly any nonhuman entity such as art. The term was coined by the robotics professor Masahiro
Mori as “bukimi no tani genshō”, roughly translating into the uncanny valley. Gallery