Steele’s work has been occupied for the last few years with the interrogation of landscape as a means by which to articulate her own personal iconography. Her practice consistently utilises a number of different media but rarely in combination. This individual focus on each medium, one at a time, allows Steele to comprehend the essentials of the subject with additional clarity. Sculpture, printmaking, installation, photography, the written word and particularly drawing have been independently and extensively used in this drive towards resolution. The intellectual curiosity that underpins Steele’s work is evident in the fluidity with which she travels between media, allowing dominance of one media over another only for so long before re-appropriating earlier imagery in order to continue the exploration.
The work operates on a number of levels. One is immediately drawn to the quality of Steele’s draughtsmanship - in all media. The subject matter is seductive. Seemingly hard rock formations are given a heightened, languid sensuality simply through Steele’s use of graphite pencil. Vivacious painted works, derived ostensibly from foliage and flora are simplified to their essence - their shape, their coloration. Soft recumbent sculptures, visually referencing flint and stone that is heavy and idle with rest yet hard and unmalleable to the touch, play also with the language of the human body. It is through this psychological and physical deconstruction and reassembling process that Steele seeks to realise a new multipartite whole. The execution of her work, the solitary and tender forms and bombastic and colourful markmaking reflects a deeply personal process.
Yellow Painting, detail
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