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stephen french
cellar doors
acrylic on canvas, metal foil, metal leaf and glass paint
101 x 194 cm
This triptych is based on the deck plate cellar hatch doors on the pavement outside Mennies Bar in Dundee. In phonaesthetics, the English compound noun “cellar door” has been cited as an example of a word or phrase which is beautifully purely in terms of its sound (euphony), without regard for its meaning (semantics). It has been presented as the most beautiful example of all. This premise is featured in the movie Donnie Darko. Some say this observation was first made by JRR Tolkein.
About the artist:

Born in Clydebank in 1953, Stephen went to Dundee Art College and graduated BA in Drawing and Painting in 1975 and then in 1976 received the Greenshields Award to study painting in Paris. In 1978 injuries sustained in a road traffic accident prevented Stephen from painting and he turned his imagination to design. He developed the now universal floor-level illuminated exiting displays for aircraft. He patented fibre optic carpeting, now a global industry, including for therapeutic uses. After winning two Design Centre Awards he was a consultant with the design council and became a member of Memphis Milano. Disenchanted with the commercial world of design, Stephen returned to painting and in 1992 he post-graduated MPhil in Fine Arts from Dundee University and has gone on to exhibit at the Pompidou Centre, Tokyo Museum of Art, the Barbican and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Stephen enjoys combining traditional painting skills with a subversive take on artists' clichés but with the overall imperative of visual decoration. Stephen works in Dundee or from his studio in Kilchoan in Ardnamurchan, the westernmost studio on the British mainland.

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