Aaron T Stephan is an artist living and working in Portland, Maine. His work presents a wry look at the world around him – focusing on complex web of information carried by everyday materials and objects.
Stephan’s exhibition Untitled Monuments arises from the complexities of public monuments and their ability to reproduce deeper structural problems. This has been seen during the past year not only in the toppling of long-standing monuments, but also ways in which the pandemic aggravated deeper cultural divides.
Cyanotypes are the original medium for making blueprints, an object that represent the span between a plan and an actuality. Monuments are also physical representations of a set of ideals in the same way that blueprints stand as an idealized design of a real object.
In Untitled Monuments, the translation of the monument to paper suggests a speculative process of questioning that is more flexible, less permanent, and more grounded in personal experience than the top-down narratives received from systems of authority.
Stephan’s large sculpture, Simple Twist of Fate, shows a singular gestural movement that changes the entire building structure of a unit, exploring simple methods of change and influence.
Stephan’s work has been featured at venues across the U.S. including DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Samson Projects, The Portland Museum of Art, John Michael Kohler Art Center, California Center for the Arts, Farnsworth Art Museum, Weitz Center at Carlton College, Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, DUMBO Center for the Arts, Troy Arts Center, University of Maine Museum of Art, Quint Contemporary, and Albany Airport Gallery.
Stephan has completed public commissions at multiple sites in Maine including Westbrook, Jackman, Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Jefferson, Lewiston, Lisbon, Biddeford, and Portland. In addition, he has completed public commissions at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester (NH), Music City Center in Nashville (TN), Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis (IN), Fire Station 45 in Clearwater (FL), Texas Tech University in Lubbock (TX), Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City (UT), and the RTD Gold Strike Station, Arvada (CO).