Torn Beauty: The Approach

Experiencing works on paper in a new and unique way.

Alexey Steele’s works on paper represent artist’s lifelong fascination with the medium and maintain his affirmation that drawing is the universal foundation for representational art. His highly developed tonal depiction of forms, as well as their refined subtleties in value definition, marks Steele’s particular artistic approach and results in experiencing the human form as an ethereal sensation.

To achieve the artist’s visual goal Steele elected to use rare handmade 100% cotton De Ponte paper, rather than the usual mill-produced product.

Each individually crafted sheet carries its own unique personality in texture, shape and dimensional weight, thus, providing Steele with a range of expressive possibilities to explore. This organically shaped substrate allows the artist to create shimmering textural passages that can be combined with highly defined line over numerous consecutive layers of hatching, consequently addressing drawing as a three-dimensional medium instead of a “flat” mode.

Steele’s drawings can be described as being reminiscent of the grisaille stage within classical multi-layer painting, and this innate similarity led the artist to the unexpected decision to float his drawings on oil-painted panels to enhance their singular coloristic and tonal mood.

This decision also represents a central for Alexey’s art process idea of an inseparable connection between Drawing and Painting, manifests his Russian Academic Tradition inspired belief in an intrinsic unity of Form, Tone and Color. In a long-held debate weather it is “tone” or “color” that is more important in art with his Torn Beauty Series Alexey affirms the notion that “tone is color”.