Born in Masterton, Stephen Howard lived in Christchurch for several years before relocating to Auckland. He completed some formal training in Wellington where he became associated with the Academy of Fine Arts, which aims to encourage emerging artists. Stephen’s involvement with the Academy allowed him to work alongside other students and professional artists to develop his Art education.
Howard paints New Zealand architecture and landscape, but manipulates the subject matter to give an atmospheric sense of strangeness. Contrasts are his thing – a tree against the repetitive patterns of an apartment block, a pale concrete building with a dark doorway and rust over the door. Howard seldom depicts a single place. He takes buildings out of their original context and re-imagines them in a way that questions reality, rather than reflecting it. His work is contradictory in that the organic forms of his colour field works are achieved by calculated attention to detail and the building up of many layers of paint. Howard has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland since 1978. Parnell Gallery has represented Howard since August 2009.