STEVEN HEFFER - a Very British Modernist

number 17 market street

Exhibition Room Now Open



Steven Heffer’s solo show at Darl-e and the Bear include seascapes, landscapes and abstracts inspired by London and East Sussex. Indubitably a Modernist — a painter who is directly related to the main current of the Modern Movement he finds beauty in London’s canals and the industrial buildings along the Thames Estuary. Other constant and absorbing subjects are the coast, the white cliffs of the South Downs and rivers in and around the Cuckmere Valley.

Steven Heffer can be regarded as a direct descendant of John Piper, works tend to negotiate the gap between the purely abstract compositions and those that are recognisable depictions of the world the artist shares with the spectator. These works contain what, in a very broad sense, can be called representations of architecture. The horizontal and vertical components of man-made creations prompt the artist to create compositions that can be read alternatively as abstract or figurative. They contain no overt element of the romantic. What Heffer does seem to romanticise is not what he finds on land, but in the sea. Working in his studio near Eastbourne Heffer prefers the sea when it is at it calmest, serving as a mirror to the chalk cliffs that border it. His play of reflections is in fact a constant and important element of his work, the constant movement of shifting planes, that invites the spectator to look, then look again. Every time you gaze at one of these subtle compositions, you tend to see it just a bit differently, the various simple shapes from which they are built have a constantly shifting, unstable relationship to one another. By inviting, or even forcing, the spectator to `see the world differently', Heffer very much belongs to the High Modernist tradition.

All the paintings from this exhibition can be seen on Steven Heffer’s artists page

Steven Heffer working in isolation

Selected images from the exhibition