Mary Stephenson was born and raised in London. Spending a short period living and working in Madrid and then Lisbon, Stephenson now resides back in London where she studies full time at The Royal Academy Schools.
Stephenson’s work weaves narratives around the viewer drawing them into complex and surreal scenes. She uses humour and distraction to create tension and apprehension, breaking this through her use of objects depicted as characters; a bowl of sad olives, a surprised fork, a wistful piece of Stilton. These objects play a central role in Stephenson’s work, they both control and are controlled by the situations she places them in. The objects are as important as the characters she depicts. The theme of ‘conspicuous consumption’ is explored in many of these works, in a nuanced exploration of the human desire to fit in and belong. The paintings become a sorting room of excess thoughts; layering up narratives and conflicting emotions to depict the mania of one’s projected self. Stephenson is offering us a magnifying glass with which we can more closely view our own constructed identities.