David Stephenson was born in 1955 and studied at the University of Colorado and then the University of New Mexico, completing an MFA in 1982. He moved to Australia that same year to take up a position teaching at the University of Tasmania School of Art. His work has focussed on the aesthetics of environmental representation through the use of photography and video art. Through extended projects he has explored both cosmological and technological manifestations of the sublime in subjects including the Tasmanian environment, Antarctica, night skies, sacred architecture, hydroelectric developments, and the modern city at night.
In a career spanning three decades, Stephenson’s art has been exhibited extensively internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1993), the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (1994), the Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, Scotland (1995), the National Gallery of Victoria, (1998), the Cleveland Museum of Art (2001), and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (2001), as well as regular exhibitions at galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, and New York. His work is represented in many public and private collections including all major Australian institutions, and many international museums including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Three monographs have been published on Stephenson’s work. Of these, two are authored by Stephenson with Princeton Architectural Press, a leading New York art, design, and architecture publisher. Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture (2005) had two printings and was a bestseller for Princeton; Editions Citadelles & Mazenod (Paris) published a French-language edition in 2007. _Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture _was published in 2009; both Princeton books have received outstanding reviews. David Stephenson: Sublime Symmetries, a 140 page French/English-language monograph on Stephenson’s work was authored by Portuguese curator Jorge Calado to accompany Stephenson’s retrospective at the Gulbenkian Cultural Centre in Paris (2006).
The panoramic composite emphasises photographic framing, perhaps challenging the monocular window which can be seen as the central metaphor of photography and most Western two-dimensional art.