Steven Foutch

Steven Foutch lives and works in Irving, Texas but was born on the outskirts of a small town in Southern Illinois. He makes art primarily in print media, drawing, and installation. The resulting work has been shown in both national and international exhibitions. Steven also dabbles in poetry, music, and illustration. When not in the classroom or studio, Steven can be found with his partner (jewelry artist and wife, Kathleen Janvier) working on their new/old house. They both dream of building a shared studio and toiling in a garden away from the sheet rock dust, and wet paint. The two have made work together in the past and plan to continue the collaboration.

Artist Statement
My work is largely centered on the exploration of psychological landscapes. Using drawing and printmaking techniques, I juxtapose the vastness of rural America with the suffocating mental state that comes with disconnected, insular life. The rural Midwestern landscape is vast but not sublime. Insulating to the point of paralysis, storms brew both physically and psychologically. One cannot help but look out to the horizon and feel at once solace and a paradoxical urge to flee. This work explores the angst, introspection, and reluctant acceptance of that landscape by its inhabitants. One resident carves the name of a metal band into his forearm and another stares Zen-like at the horizon with eighty year old eyes. Agrarian self-sustainability clashes with an industrial age that ended as soon as it began. In my most recent work, I have provoked a physical battle with the medium. Often attempting to destroy the paper or at least push it past its traditional limitations, I later revive its textured body by soaking and flattening. Only then do I begin to work. I feel that weathering the paper in this way is important in setting the overall storm-torn tone within the landscapes. I work using monotype, watercolor, gel medium, drawing, chine collé, engraving and intaglio to create a heavily worked surface. Material choices are utilitarian, paper is never self-important, but always reliable and in possession of a deceptive strength and physicality. Color is used to provide conceptual balance, suggesting the possibility of joy just beyond grasp. I hope that it provides a foil to the violent mark making and further explores the dichotomy of the contented versus the cutoff and forgotten. Often I won’t stop physically working the pieces until the paper itself is on the verge of breakdown. The work ends only when it is apparent that taking them further would result in their destruction. When installing my work, I use a variety of nontraditional methods. The most recent includes clamping the drawings to the wall with reclaimed barn wood and rusted nails. I feel that this installation method not only highlights the object quality of the paper but also adds a specificity of place to the work. The perspective of my work has changed over the years from a third person observation of rural inhabitants and objects to a first person view, looking out from a specific place and set upon by elements outside of their control. I have attempted to move away from a linear mode of storytelling based on my own memories into a more ambiguous narrative. I work to set the viewer as inhabitant of an alien space, as opposed to cultural gawker. In earlier work I asked the viewer to witness a train wreck. Now I want to place them on the train, look at them from an adjacent seat and ask, “Where are we?”