I'm wanting to articulate the majesty and mystery of the unseen network-connection between us and nature (as nature) and to reveal images that may not yet be in the collective unconscious - moving us through the abstract into the imaginable.
Stephen Edward Meakin
Meakin was born in Staffordshire, England, and spent his formative years growing up in the beautiful Georgian cities of Bath and Brighton. As a school kid, he was well known for being quiet and contemplative busily engaging himself in abstract thought staring out of the classroom window, or drawing doodles where he shouldn’t. In fact, gazing out of the window and more importantly, the idea of seeing through to the nature of things became the defining theme of his creative practice for decades to come.
He found his first taste of freedom of expression when in 1978 it was still illegal to skateboard on the pavements in Brighton & Hove (home of Pig City Skaters) By 1982 he and his graffiti-skater mates were already known to authorities for committing a new kind of creative crime.
In 1986 he was offered a place on the Art Foundation at Brighton Polytechnic. As a student of art, he was encouraged to explore different forms of expression in painting, textiles, sculpture, and video. At that time the Brit Art movement was flowering in London but he was looking for a different kind of aesthetic that seemed unrepresented in the galleries. Eventually, it was an exhibition of aboriginal art that inspired something new.
Being unsure of his creative direction in 1990 he had found a place to study for a degree in 3D design at Bournemouth. It was here, whilst researching ideas for a project, he discovered a dusty old hard-back full of ancient ‘illuminated’ manuscripts from all over the world. This book contained the loose-leaf illustrations of geometric pattern construction methods of both Arabic and Celtic pattern. On finding something 'true' in pattern he began to imagine an abstract language that can be found in all cultures and his passion for geometry was born although it was a quiet private interest. Once graduated he worked for Swatch briefly and then for an upmarket kitchen design company in Tunbridge Wells before relocating abroad where he helped to paint theatre backdrops in France, Ibiza, and then on to Mexico before eventually returning to the UK via a 3-year stay in the Virgin Islands where he worked as a mural painter and windsurf instructor. In his private sketchbooks, he had started to explore Geometry as a universal language learning the techniques of Celtic pattern making and embracing the decorative arts from Persia and Tibet.
In 1996 he was offered a place to study Architecture & Interior Design at Brighton University. He gave himself time to continue research of subjects such as cosmology, ancient temple buildings, and the abstract ornament of antiquity. Following some years working in commercial architecture designing out-of-town shopping centers and then cruise ship interiors, he decided to move back to Brighton in 2002 to study for an MA in Fine Art. This allowed him time for a more in-depth compositional analysis of inspired works by his favorite artists Kandinsky, Klee & Miro, and this initiated further conceptual alignments in the process of making art developed by Brice Marden, Hanne Darboven, and Joseph Albers.
Stephen Meakin is best known for his large, vibrant, often circular paintings that are underpinned by the meticulous draftsmanship of geometries. With a controlled but no less expressive artistic style, each canvas is painstakingly painted over hundreds of hours eventually revealing beautiful mandala-esque patterns that are simultaneously inspirational, yet contemplatively intriguing. On closer inspection, ese paintings are much more content rich than the mere surface ornament. Intricate geometries are woven together with botanical form, butterflies, bees, birds and mystical beasts flowing from his imagination. Each composition has its own numerical narrative embedded within its fine detail. Just as a pentagon (forget-me-knot has 5 petals), is different from a hexagon (honeycomb has 6 sides), each painting has its own structural laws and its own number, rhythm, cadence and tone. The essence of his work is to encourage a higher level of relating with the physical world that surrounds us.