Works by Stephen Paul Connor

  • Fusion #1, 2023 36” x 30” Oils on panel

Stephen Paul Connor

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Stephen Paul Connor teaches game design at a community college in Austin, Texas, instructing his classes in the creation of art for computer games. Connor’s practice in his studio is much more primal. He begins his process with writing down words that express strong feelings; suffering, pain, duality, conflict. The words serve as verbal sketches that spark the start of a painting. He then follows his intuition, not sure where it will go. His painting technique can be almost violent, “breaking” the image by eradicating it and then over painting its vestiges, and “hacking it together again until it starts to have a life of its own.” His goal, he says, is “to connect. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s everything. To give people a little lift or charge in their consciousness.”

Connor’s powerfully packed compositions feature intense shapes and colors and convey a tense, coiled energy. Fusion 1 (2023) is composed of overlapping tectonic-plate- or fin-like forms, each internally jammed with jagged pieces in varying sizes and hues, outlined in thick black. Every busy section of the teeming canvas is complex, yet its contained chaos remains coherent. The composition of Torrent, (2023,) in contrast, is pared down and basic, a primer in Connor’s visual vocabulary. Unlike Fusion #1, it feels more contemplative than confrontational. In Fusion #3, (2023). Connor works in an entirely different format. It shares with Connor’s other work an almost overwhelming level of visual detail, and its circular composition,  expanding outward with centrifugal force, evokes a vortex--or a galactic big bang.

 - Phoebe Hoban