Born in 1971, Stephanie Rew was raised in the historic city of Edinburgh, Scotland leaving for Dundee in 1990 to study at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. After graduating she returned to her hometown for a few years before moving to Brighton in 1996.
Work and the pursuit of gallery representation took her to London in 1998 where she held the first of 3 successful exhibitions before moving back to Edinburgh in 2002. She now lives with her husband Tom and two children and works full time as a painter in her studio in the Leith Shore area of Edinburgh.
She first became interested in drawing and painting at an early age, showing ability beyond her years. Drawing images from memory kept her amused throughout her childhood and once she reached her final years at high school it was obvious that art college beckoned. She enrolled at Duncan of Jordanstone and followed her passion for figurative painting – citing Alison Watt and Jenny Saville as her inspiration at that time. As well as concentrating on life drawing and paintings she also sat in and sketched with the Dundee Repertory Dance Company during rehearsals, which started a relationship with dance and her paintings.
Since graduating, her career path took her to Brighton where she involved herself with the Arts Festival there, organising and hanging large group shows in empty office buildings. This gave her the first chance since college to paint full time and exhibit her work. These works lead to John Lewis Partnership taking 50 original charcoal drawings of her dancers to sell at their flagship Oxford Street Store.
The funds raised by this, in turn, helped her put together her first solo show at the Sussex Arts Club and found a London gallery to represent her. Since then she has continued to widen her audience, winning the Elizabeth Greenshields Award in 1995 and the RGI New Artist Award 2009 and acquiring an ever growing list of collectors – P&O Ferries, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered plc to name a few. She exhibits across the UK and sells well in the rest of Europe and the US also.
Wendt Gallery, Online 2012
Alpha Art, Edinburgh 2012
Oisin Gallery, Dublin 2009
Art Exposure Gallery, Glasgow 2007, 2006
Just Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 2004
Menier Gallery, Old Chocolate Factory, London 2003
The Bloxham Galleries, London 2001
Sussex Arts Club, Brighton 1998
The Aldridge Gallery, Edinburgh 1996
The Female Form’, Red Rag Gallery, Bath 2011
`Women Painting Women’, Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, North Carolina, USA 2010
Alpha Art, Edinburgh 2011, 2010
Strathearn Gallery, Crieff 2011, 2010
Fraser Gallery, St Andrews 2011, 2010
Morningside Gallery, Edinburgh -‘Spring Belles’ 2010
Royal Glasgow Institure of Fine Art, Annual Exhibition 2009, 2008
Contemporary Fine Art Eton, Windsor 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007
Morningside Gallery, Edinburgh 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
Tracey McNee Fine Art 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
Art Exposure Gallery, Glasgow 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.
Randolph Gallery, Edinburgh 2006
Oisin Gallery, Dublin 2008, 2007, 2006
Edinburgh Art Fair 2011, 2010,2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
Holman, Fenwick & Willam Law, London 2004
Coburg Studios Collective, Randolph Gallery, Edinburgh 2005
Soiree D’Art, Chateau de L’Cappelle, Dordogne, France 2005, 2004
Artifex Gallery, West Midlands 2005
The Albemarle Gallery, London 2004
The Menier Gallery, The Old Chocolate Factory, London 2002
Valentine Show, Bloxham Galleries, London 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
New Artist Collection, John Lewis, Oxford Street, London 1999
Degree Show, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee 1994
The Royal Scottish Academy Student Exhibition, Edinburgh 1993
Cuthbert Young Artist Award RGI Annual Exhibition 2008
Artlink International Young Art Prize (Sotheby’s) Finalist 2003
Elizabeth Greenshield Award, Montreal, Canada 1995
P&O Ferries, Standard Chartered Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh HQ, Lord Wraxhall, Tyntesfield Estate England, Ayub Khan-Din London.
My primary subject matter is the female figure. Always painted with a sense of ambiguity; faces half hidden, with the human form often just emerging from the darkness. The human anatomy is the predominant motif to my work and I have developed my style with the using drapery and pattern in combination with the figure.
After studying the society portraits of James McNeil Whistler and woodblock prints of the Japanese Ukiyo-e, I have become increasingly interested in pattern and design as well as depth and form, and have embarked on a series of works combining these attributes.
Tone and form as well as strong light and colour is what inspires me, concentrating on the juxtaposition of tonality and texture whilst keeping a private, reflective mood with the work. Recently I have returned to my interest in dance and have been working with aerial dancers in their rehearsal space in Edinburgh, striving to capture in oil paint, the elegance, strength and drama to be found in this type of dance discipline.
I regularly travel around my home country of Scotland, My husband Tom is a keen hillwalker and my children both love the outdoors. This has given me the opportunity to find another inspiration for my painting. The changeable and often wet weather to be found in the north of the UK can give the landscape an otherworldy feel which I try to capture with oil paint. These landscapes are void of colour, much like nature at times, and heavy on atmosphere and mood. Since I am painting places I truly love, it makes it easy to give these works the same amount of detail and consideration that my figurative painting demands.
I have always been heavily influenced by the Baroque style of oil painting and utilises a combination of Old Masters techniques with my own alla prima style. The practice of glazing is important to the finished article – creating the illusion of an inner glow to the paint. Caravaggio’s trademark use of chiaroscuro and strong colour created by glazing techniques has inspired my work for the last decade.
Stephanie Rew 2011