Body of Water: Stephen Frew

Just came back from a sneak peek at Ottawa's Stephen Frew 's solo show on now at ORANGE ART GALLERY


The work features portrait's of the city's creative crowd; musicians, gallerists and visual artists (including one of yours truly).


Frew's work is immediately recognizable; once you've seen it you won't forget it. A strong, clear voice which exemplifies a great sense of design, space and most importantly, a distinct ability to edit, edit, edit. This skill is easily overlooked, but when your work is as much made up of negative space as it is of positive space, this is essential.


The pieces on exhibit at Orange devinely balanced. Brash strokes of transparent glazes of colour often laid atop impasto-like acrylic are juxtaposed with delicate lost and found lines in pencil and ink. The 25 portraits are playful and sensual at times, united by Frew's distinct style; exquisitely long eyelashes, sparkling irises and dripping mouths... but each have a unique story which gives insight to personality, emotional or physical transformation as illustrated by the addition of external elements like costume, repetitive shapes, cut outs, abstract colour blocking and geometric background shapes.


The concept of the exhibition space for this show was Frew's own; raw pieces of paper, unframed and tacked to a wall, barrel striped in indigo blue. Although the presentation is bold, the artist is modest, approachable and is visibly passionate about producing exciting new work and pushing the boundaries of representational work.

Visit the artist's website:

Orange Art Gallery is located at 233 Armstrong St, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2W5