For more than forty years Stephen Buckley, (b. 1944 Leicester, England) has concerned himself with addressing the major themes of the twentieth century through a personal style oscillating between the matière of Kurt Schwitters, the dandyism of Francis Picabia and the intellectual rigour of Marcel Duchamp.
He takes the two most basic components of a conventional painting (canvas and stretcher), and makes multi-dimensional constructions, joins groups of single canvases together in overlapping structures, makes shaped canvases, cuts a stretcher with a variegated edge, stitches and weaves together strips of canvas, patches pieces of canvas onto another support, and adds cardboard tubing, rope, found objects and cut out shapes. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Buckley saw extended prominence in the art press, starting with the artist being described as ‘the Punk Rock of contemporary painting’ and ending with him gaining the title of ‘the ubiquitous Stephen Buckley’. There is now a large portfolio of themes, references, motifs and symbols which are continually reworked and reinvented. Since then, he has made some of his most compelling paintings, lush pop canvases full of symbols and colour, a far cry from the pared-down, industrial feel of some of his early works.
Buckley studied Fine Art at Kings College, Durham University under Richard Hamilton (1962-67) where he was involved in the reconstruction of Duchamp's Large Glass and then at the University of Reading (1967-9) under Terry Frost and Claude Rodgers. He has taught variously at Canterbury College of Art, Chelsea School of Art, The Royal College of Art and was Artist in Residence at Kings College, Cambridge (1972-4). He was appointed Professor of Fine Art at the University of Reading in 1994, and Professor Emeritus in 2009. He has held over fifty solo exhibitions worldwide and is represented in many national collections including Arts Council of England, The British Council, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Tate Britain, London.
This exhibition is in conjunction with the release of the artist’s monograph this year Close Cousins published by Fleischmann.