Steven MacIver was born in Orkney, and completed his BA in Fine Art at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen and an MFA at the Slade in 2004. He then won a Sainsbury's Scholarship in Painting and Sculpture at the British School at Rome, which then placed him as one of the leading artists in the UK. He currently lives and works outside Oxford, exhibiting with Sarah Wiseman Gallery locally and with the Dillon Gallery, New York internationally.
Currently in his work Steven has turned his attention back to his native Orkney, having now spent over half of his life away from the islands, he looks at it from a distance, both physical and metaphorically.
The paintings are an exploration of both painting and drawing, in which Steven studies spaces and planes, interior and exterior. He uses gold leaf and pigment in layers, plotting lines and grids from which he will painstakingly 'excavate' his paintings, as if discovering the lines in space. The result is an alluring surface that is both reflective in texture and with linear mark-making that is delicate, yet strongly and precisely constructed.
His latest works explore Orkney's Ring of Brodgar, a mysterious stone circle that dates back thousands of years. Nobody knows the original purpose of this site, which somehow increases its power. It has become an important part of the Islands' culture and mythology and for Steven it represents his home and how he perceives the world. Some of his new paintings, consist of carefully plotted concentric circles that explore the spirit of these circular lines laid down in the earth millennia ago. Pigment is concentrated shade by shade towards the outer edges, ringing a central core of dark glossed paint. In other works he references the landscape directly, from memory sculpting it in three dimensions and then drawing that impression on to the canvas. The result is a structured surface that is both glossy and flat: a cross between drawing and painting.