The Eye’s Mind

An exhibition of new drawings, paintings and photographs.
Curated by Mark Harrell.

At Studio Oostvoor in Amsterdam, NL
November, 2019

The Drawing Room at Hay, UK
October, 2019


Stephanie Lamb held an exhibition of new work in October this year at my gallery in Wales, The Drawing Room at Hay and which I helped to curate.

Together with photographs, video work, drawings and paintings she was able to bring into focus the importance of seeing, for the artist, highlighted by her telling reversal of words in the show’s title, The Eye’s Mind.

The act of seeing may be obvious to a visual artist but it remains pivotal nevertheless. Ways of Seeing, John Berger’s seminal book, encouraged us to look at paintings afresh and Stephanie continues this quest with her searching, restless camera lens and her exploratory drawings, which feed into her paintings on large canvases, created using a method of excavation to uncover the startling image.

Her work pivots on the processes of change, as many of the titled paintings show. They suggest new things being forged in fires, tectonic plates shifting, seasons and weather fronts moving in. The artist herself is at a crossroads in her artistic career and she is forging from it new and luminous work across the media. These are excitingly creative times for her.

The show was extremely well attended and received, both locally in Hay and further afield and I am sure this pattern will repeat itself now in Amsterdam

Mark Harrell
November 2019


Stepping into The Eye’s Mind

The Drawing Room Gallery in Hay-On-Wye hosted artist Stephanie Lamb’s latest exhibition entitled ‘The Eye’s Mind’. This play on words describes Lamb’s current interests – looking within to explore themes of change and transformation – but also connects the exhibition with its setting, the literary tradition in Hay and the Welsh countryside.

A drive from Abergavenny across the rolling hills and hidden valleys of the Brecon Beacons is an apt preamble for the show. It felt like heading into the private world of the artist. On arrival, the work displayed in the gallery shop window – a drawing of a man and a bird bearing gifts of leaves and flowers – opens the show but also resonates with the eccentricity of the many shops along the same road, selling antique books, prints and collectors’ objects.

The drawing is part of Lamb’s ‘Crow Man’ series, one of four groups of works that make this exhibition. A set of drawings of birds and anthropomorphic figures lead the eye into the gallery, and into the artist’s mind. “They are all done with the left hand” explains Lamb – a way of exploring the mind using the right hemisphere of the brain, responsible for creativity and intuition. The series is also an exploration of a personal mythology, the apparition of a crow as a herald of change and the transformation of both the human and the bird, constantly revisited by Lamb through painting and drawing.

Two series of paintings further explore the forces of creation and transformation. The series entitled ‘Forge’ focuses on the power of fire, evoking the atmosphere of a smithy where blacksmiths heat and shape metal. One can also think of a mythological forge from where Hephaestus would command the destructive or fertilising powers of fire. A second series expands on the idea of creation seeking inspiration in the forces of nature, the colossal crush of tectonic plates, and the continuous transformation of the elements across the seasons.

Between the drawings and paintings, one can find Lamb’s most evident experiment with self-transformation. A multimedia piece entitled ‘Altered Ego’ is a portrait of the artist over many months of creative experimentation in the studio. The digital images slowly dissolve into one another to reveal a multiplicity of states of mind. The animation, made in collaboration with Carsten Lund Thomsen, is complemented by a specially commissioned soundtrack by Canadian musician Luvuyo Ncapayi, to further enhance the meditative state of the piece.

‘The Eye’s Mind’ is a show about self-confrontation, exploration and transformation through art. It is the essential task of the artist – in this case through an intense period of work in the studio – to undergo this journey and to emerge from it renewed. The works on show are annotations, clues, one might say even a navigation compass into uncharted lands. They invite us to follow Lamb on a path to surprising discoveries.

Rodrigo Orrantia
November 2019
Royal Instute of British Architects