The Match Factory, Bow, Oil on canvas (2021)
The Match Factory, Bow, Oil on Canvas, 65 × 50cm (2021)

No good is going to come of these churning clouds and atmospheric lesions. Or, for that matter, of the land and water beneath them. Stephen Harwood’s pejorism is as thrilling as it is despairing. The style, ‘the marks’, are uniquely brutal. But then so are the subjects they represent or, rather, invent. This is painting as menace.

Jonathan Meades

There are few painters who have so well divined the true life of the city and, by an act of astonishing intuition, have been able to unite the past and present, mythology and reality, in artistic communion.
Stephen Harwood’s work is filled with the energy and momentum of the city itself… He is one of London’s finest interpreters.

Peter Ackroyd

Marvellous pictures—really fantastic landscapes. The best London townscapes of all time!

Gilbert & George

Your work is not my cup of tea.”

Paul Godfrey aka ‘The Gentle Author’ of Spitalfields Life

Falling somewhere between reality and fiction, my work explores places that are in some way agitated or persuasive, or that possess qualities that may not be immediately identifiable or explicable; landscapes loaded with histories and associations (some barely perceptible or ‘only in the eye of the beholder’, some immersive and inescapable).

I engage with such locations through a process of reimagining. In this way, my paintings, drawings and films become an interpretative mirror or filter: an investigation of place that aims for a shared (historical) vantage point. There is a figurative element, too, when the location demands it. Adolescent males are invoked, and situated centre-stage; becoming the spirit of place, or genius loci, in the midst of their own developmental becoming.

The resulting images are perhaps latent landscapes; the reverse or underside of the superficial view, enabling place / landscape to reveal both itself, and our situation within it, anew.

Stephen is an MA graduate of Central St Martins and lives and works in Hackney, East London.