There are several thematic currents running through my new paintings, all of them having to do with social and cultural conditions of the moment. Each painting is a puzzle piece taunting viewers with the overarching message: The demise of our society. Under this vast thematic umbrella live viral sub themes of moral breakdown, irreligiousity, cultural fanaticism and perversion, icon idolization, character and personality duplicity, skewed values, the obsession with surface and beauty, and the disappearing line between good and bad.
I try to present and illustrate these conditions not with urgency, chaos, or despair, but with complete control, composure, and complicity â€“ celebrating and glamorizing corruption. In a country driven by media, marketing and money, one gets ahead by falling into step with this means of control, by joining not fighting, by becoming a "team player," and by suppressing individuality.
Just like the ways the menace of marketing and the malicious malware on our computer can trick us, my art is also involved with trickery and ambiguity. The image is clear and convincing, rather like a sound bite or a one-liner, but there is a lingering puzzlement or suspicion about its authenticity and meaning. In our society authenticity and sincerity are always suspect. Who can we trust in this world of personal agendas, collusion, and ulterior motives? No one - We watch our back.
My new work combines images and text. Marketing combines images and text. The subjects range from huge paint-by-numbers paintings, saccharine religious images, pet portraits, pop star portraits, stylized paintings of beautiful women, Red Sox art, and inane floral still lifes. I choose subjects which have traditionally been, to art initiates, bad taste subjects meant for the Philistine, subjects with no place in the lofty lagoons of high art.
The text I incorporate into these paintings may deliver hanging instructions (Foyer Left, Over The Couch), announce prices (Only $9,999!, Half Off!) or exclaim other sales/marketing "come-ons." In some paintings the text contradicts the image. Rude anti-social remarks like "Shut-up", "Buzz off," or "Leave me alone," deface paintings of cute farm animals. Images of various handguns have pleasant greetings written across the canvas.
Depending on the viewer, these pieces can be seen as decorative, irritating, offensive, humorous, schlocky, anti-elitist, or, as Manny Ramirez's fake autograph says as "Great Art!" They are purposely parodistic and edgy. Like our society, I keep pushing into a more sinister and devastating zone with my work while maintaining a seductive and decorative veneer and exploiting the magnetism of humorous sensationalism.
RANDY STEVENS â€“ A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
As a teenager, Randy was raised in foster homes in Rockland County, N.Y. and Westchester County, N.Y. This gave her the freedom and proximity to immerse herself in the cultural scene in NYC. The established uptown and emerging downtown art scenes, museums, Maxâ€™s Kansas City, Fillmore East were all destinations of her weekly forays on the Rte. 9 bus. She always knew she wanted to be an artist.
Accepted to all the top east coast art schools, Randy opted to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She finished the 4-year course in three years winning every award given by the school. Randy completed the 5th year Traveling Fellowship Program in her 4th year, winning the schoolâ€™s top prize.
After art school she made a beeline back to NYC wearing a 50â€™s prom dress. She was immediately snapped up by a major 57th St. gallery where she showed for 9 years. Fine Art Express would make regular runs between her Boston China Town loft, and her New York gallery.
Feeling the maternal pull she took time to raise a family, while continuing to make her art. She signed a contract with a gallery on Newbury St. in Boston where she showed for 8 years. Her new work at that time parodied the 1980sâ€™ penchant for overindulgence and extravagance. It sold well - often to those who were targets of her caustic social commentary.
As her children became more independent, Randyâ€™s suburban Sudbury existence closed in around her and she had the overwhelming desire for land, space, and peace.
Randy now lives with her husband on their 70-acre farm in Central MA. They grow vegetables and hay, and raise goats, chickens, and ducks.
She has a loft studio in the 1914 barn with views of Mt. Wachusett 50 miles away, and the work coming out of it is once again gaining attention and stirring the art world.