Author(s): Eion Stevens
In Painted Poems painter Eion Stevens has responded to 20 New Zealand poems -- poems from poets as diverse as Jenny Bornholdt and Katherine Mansfield, James K Baxter and Cilla McQueen -- with an intelligent playfulness. Encountering the paintings alongside their companion poems is a thought-provoking and enriching experience. Steven's witty visual language, his ability to find meanings in simple forms, is startling. For some viewers, the poems will read like translations of the paintings, for others the paintings will act as alert readings of the poems. Here is an energetic and intellectual interchange between Stevens and the range of poets he responds to. Steven's open ended narrative devices mean that viewers will come back to his work again and again, reading their own worlds in the scenes. Each painting seems in essence to be an attempt to get a fix on a haunting, story-telling image. A lovely book to hold, to read, to own. First published December 2007.
Eion Stevens was born in Dunedin in 1952, and after studying print-making and painting, graduated with honours from the Otago School of Art in 1973. After his graduation he travelled to Europe several times; during the first foray, he studied at Exeter College of Art, England. Eion has exhibited regularly throughout New Zealand since 1979, when he was still in his twenties, and his work is included in important public and corporate collections, and in private collections, both here and overseas. In 1999 a survey of his work was mounted at the James Wallace Trust Gallery, Auckland.