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Work Samples

And I shall smite thee

And I shall smite thee 2018 46in x 58in Natural and synthetic fiber, glass beads, metallic buttons

Sunken: The Crossing

Sunken: The Crossing
Sunken: The Crossing Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017

Sunken: The Trial

Sunken: The Trial
Sunken: The Trial Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017

Sunken: The Captured

Sunken-The Captured
Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper

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About Stephen

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Stephen Towns (Baltimore, MD) is a painter and fiber artist whose work explores how American history influences contemporary society. Towns received a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting from the University of South Carolina. His work has been exhibited locally and nationally, including solo exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Goucher College, Galerie Myrtis, as well as group exhibitions at Arlington Art Center, Montpelier Arts Center, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and Museum. His work has been... more

Harriet Tubman Quilts

Inspired by the novel Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton, these works are mythical images narrating pivotal moments in Tubman’s life.

Story Quilts

My story quilts narrate the life of Nat Turner and his 1831 rebellion.

Sunken

Sunken is a series of portraits on paper inspired by my research about the Zong massacre of 1781 in which 133 slaves were killed by their British slave ship crew. These works are a testament to the resilience of the Africans who survived the Middle Passage.

  • Sunken: The Captured

    Sunken: The Captured
    Sunken: The Captured Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017
  • Sunken: The Crew

    Sunken: The Crew
    Sunken: The Crew Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017
  • Sunken: The Crossing

    Sunken: The Crossing
    Sunken: The Crossing Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017
  • Sunken: The Cargo

    Sunken: The Cargo
    Sunken: The Cargo Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017
  • Sunken: The River

    Sunken: The River
    Sunken: The River Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017
  • Sunken: The Trial

    Sunken: The Trial
    Sunken: The Trial Acrylic, Fiber, and Copper Leaf on Paper 16” x 20” 2017

The Gift of Lineage

In The Gift of Lineage, I’ve incorporated fabric collected in the US and Ghana. This series examines the power of uncovering the past in order to create a prosperous and more certain future.

  • The Gift of Lineage 1

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 2

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 3

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 4

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 5

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 6

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 7

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel
  • The Gift of Lineage 8

    2018 24” x 36” Acrylic, Bristol board, metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread on wood panel

An Offering

An Offering draws inspiration from Marcus Rediker’s 2007 book The Slave Ship: A Human History. The eight works pay homage to the many West African people who were uprooted from their families and forced to endure the brutality of the Middle Passage. The shape of each work mimics the diagram of the 18th century British slave ship the Brookes. The figures and shadows in each work represent the multitude of unknown Africans who were captured and forced to live an uncertain future shaped by their captors. The hands holding candles in each work are an offering to these ancestors in a gesture of gratitude and solace.

  • An Offering 1

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite,Bristol board,metal leaf,natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle,polyester and cotton thread,and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 2

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite,Bristol board,metal leaf,natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle,polyester and cotton thread,and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 3.

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite,Bristol board,metal leaf,natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle,polyester and cotton thread,and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 4

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite,Bristol board,metal leaf,natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle,polyester and cotton thread,and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 5

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite,Bristol board,metal leaf,natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle,polyester and cotton thread,and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 6

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite, Bristol board,metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle, polyester and cotton thread, and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 7

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite, Bristol board,metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle, polyester and cotton thread, and crystal glass beads on wood panel
  • An Offering 8

    2018 16” x 49” Acrylic and oil paint, graphite, Bristol board,metal leaf, natural and synthetic fabric, nylon tulle, polyester and cotton thread, and crystal glass beads on wood panel

Find Me a Constellation

Find Me A Constellation delves into to lives of children who experienced American slavery. Models for the portraits were sourced from archived images of enslaved children. Because the harsh realities of slavery may be inescapable, the only way to find internal peace was through daydreaming and the stars.

Black Magic

Black Magic examines the role religion has played throughout American history. The figures represent the Nat and Cherry Turner and how they use religion to escape the bonds of slavery, both real and imagined.

Joy Cometh in the Morning

Joy Cometh in the Morning is a series of works paying homage to the enslaved blacks whose lives were lost as a result of Nat Turner's rebellion.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This series of works were inspired by James Weldon Johnson's poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" which is often referred to as the "Negro National Anthem."

co|patriot

co|patriot is a collection of work inspired by Stephen Towns' readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, Solomon Northrup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”, and Harriet Ann Jacob’s “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”. These classic works have helped to inform and broaden Towns’ view of the systemic oppression that has affected contemporary Black Americans. Each work of art examines the relationship Black Americans have had with their country and history, both known and lost.

  • Co-Patriots

    Co-Patriots
    Acrylic, Metal Leaf on Panel 2014
  • Without Inspection or Approval

    Without Inspection or Approval
    Acrylic, Oil, Metal Leaf on Panel. American slavery placed great importance on brute strength and physical endurance. This work questions whether those values systems are still necessary today.
  • Ubiquity

    Ubiquity
    Acrylic, Copper Leaf on Panel. Butterflies have been a consistent symbol in my work since I began making art. For me they represent spirituality. You may see a figure surrounded by butterflies. Sometimes they may appear behind a figure completely unaware of their innate spiritual nature. Others will focus intently on them, completely aware of who they are in their spirituality.
  • Ode to Anthony Van Angola

    Oil, Metal Leaf on Canvas. Ode to Anthony Van Angola & Ode to Catalina Van Angola pay homage to some of the first marriages between people of color in colonial America. In these paintings, contemporary Black Americans are surrounded by symbols that harken back to that time period and the impact of slavery in America. These works are a visual representation of a history that affects the psychology and culture of people of today.
  • Ode to Catalina Van Angola

    Oil, Metal Leaf on Canvas. Ode to Anthony Van Angola & Ode to Catalina Van Angola pay homage to some of the first marriages between people of color in colonial America. In these paintings, contemporary Black Americans are surrounded by symbols that harken back to that time period and the
  • The Juice Ain't so Sweet

    Acrylic, Oil, Metal Leaf, Brown Paper Bags on Panel. A consistent theme in my work is colorism. The Juice Ain't so Sweet makes reference to the popular colloquialism "the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice." These statements that have been embraced by Black Americans are affirmations in accepting one's darker skin tone. Here, I question when there will be mass acceptance in darker skin tones in American society and media.
  • ...but he's so black

    Acrylic, Oil, Copper Leaf on Panel. A consistent theme in my work is colorism. This was my take on a "white painting". In the center is this very dark-skinned man.
  • The Shepherd of Sandtown

    Acrylic, Metal Leaf on Panel. A consistent theme that appeared in all of the literature that I read for this exhibition was the influence of Christianity on American culture, both positive and negative. I painted a triptych exploring the concept of a savior and salvation. Are saviors portrayed in one's own image? Has one been served their salvation? What would that look like?
  • The Prophet of Pennsylvania Avenue

    Acrylic, Metal Leaf on Panel. A consistent theme that appeared in all of the literature that I read for this exhibition was the influence of Christianity on American culture, both positive and negative. I painted a triptych exploring the concept of a savior and salvation. Are saviors portrayed in one's own image? Has one been served their salvation? What would that look like?
  • Are you Being Served?

    Acrylic, Copper Leaf on Panel. A consistent theme that appeared in all of the literature that I read for this exhibition was the influence of Christianity on American culture, both positive and negative. I painted a triptych exploring the concept of a savior and salvation. Are saviors portrayed in one's own image? Has one been served their salvation? What would that look like?

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Stephen's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.