Solo exhibition at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Oct.–Dec. 2013.
Steven L. Anderson uses his work as an opportunity to find out about the world, doing research about a range of subjects, and meeting strangers whose jobs or belief systems interest him. These investigations are anchored by his daily studio practice, where he makes drawings, sculptures, videos, and graphic designs. In recent years, his production has focused on energy—the combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual forces that can prompt activity and the consequences that might result.
“I’m interested in making things, spaces, and situations that fuse the exhilaration of the human spirit with the ferocious beauty of nature to make a palpable, tingling essence,” Anderson stated recently. This comment is telling, and Anderson is fully aware of his romantic and almost shamanic intentions to transform himself and others. Pursuing “the sublime” might raise an eyebrow or two, but a healthy amount of doubt and irreverence is hard-wired into Anderson’s practice.
Energy Strategies is conceived as a two room installation, whereby viewers can stand, sit, and recline to encounter the works. On the walls, are recent drawings whereby Anderson repeatedly writes words in a radiating spiral, hoping to lose himself in the process and possibly alter a condition in the world by his intense focus and labor. Phrases such as “Keep Breathing,” “The Money Will Come,” and “Thank You For Everything” are accumulated in various colors, sizes, and degrees of readability. “Star Magic” paintings present the artist's exercise in shifting the patterns of perception, by filing in shapes on gridded canvasses. On the floor, a large ornamental “prayer rug” serves as a kind of welcome mat and circular stage for gatherings of individuals and groups from the Metro Atlanta area that will take place throughout the duration of the exhibition. Around the gallery are placed variously adorned tripods that support video camera/players offering images of encounters with the spirit of nature. In a separate area, Anderson constructs a low slung meditation lounge with plants, rugs, pillows, and a soothing sound collage.
In the often overwhelming flow of everyday rhythms (work, family, politics, culture, technology), Steven L. Anderson's ideas and endeavors offer a chance to slow down, shift perspective, and as he says, “discover rhythms that have nothing to do with the nine-to-five.”