Manon Steyaert (b.1996) is a French-British artist based in London. Steyaert’s practice is situated between the two worlds of painting and sculpture, able to create both wall-based works and free- standing abstract sculptures. With a strong background in fashion as well as art, the artist pays homage to both traditional and non-traditional mediums throughout her practice. Focusing mainly on the aesthetic quality of silicone, Steyaert also utilises canvas, scrim, wood and metal, consequently drawing on the visual language of both architecture and painting.
Allowing herself to be led by the intrinsic qualities of her materials, Steyaert’s creative process is intuitive and process-driven. Silicone as a medium is one that requires time, attention, and immense control. Hand-pouring each sheet of silicone, the curing process alone can take days, and the finished form is as delicate as it is physical. In many of Steyaert’s works, the silicone is treated like fabric: draped and folded across its structural support, creating beautiful compositions that challenge our perception of what it is that makes a painting or a sculpture. As a result, movement, abstraction and action are core to Steyaert’s work. Her abstracted forms sit in limbo between two accepted modes of art, generating a unique space for curiosity and development.
Colour and form work together closely within Steyaert’s work, guiding the viewer’s eye along the undulations of her chosen material. Making use of a wide variety of colours, often melding them together to create near-psychedelic patterns across the surface of the silicone, Steyaert’s work is simultaneously simple and meditative. In recent works, Steyaert has made us of metallic pigments, which flash and glare as the silicone is manipulated across the stretchers, interrupting the viewer’s gaze and drawing further attention to the uniqueness of both the colours used and material surface itself.
The importance of materiality of Steyaert’s practice is undeniable. Alternative perspectives, interpretations and viewpoints are continually encouraged within the artists’ ever-evolving practice. Unable to be defined within ‘traditional’ boundaries of painting or sculpture, her work embodies the transgressive nature of conceptual and contemporary artistic practice.