I make art that grows out of an engagement with specific contexts. It’s a relational practice that takes into account the wider ecology of people and place.
I work across a wide range of media such as video, sound, sculpture, light, text, digital, interactive, photography and writing.
I tap into specific aspects of a place, such as its mood/tone, its sense of place (what exists within it and what helps define it), as well as relationships between people, nature, industry and the economy. I weave together material, unearth stories and combine fact and fiction to create new narratives. These new narratives become alternative stories for a place, and alternative ‘markers’ within it – whether that is a film, a sculpture, a publication, or another art form.
I have sought out opportunities to create new work in relation to marine environments in particular, and in relation to the actual act of making journeys. In recent years I’ve worked in environments such as a marine-mammal research station, a Scottish island fishing community, coastal towns, a river in Mexico and a fishing community in Sri Lanka.
I am currently completing a new narrative-led video installation, Fluid States, based on a particular journey I made along the Usumacinta River in Mexico in 2014. This was a group expedition that involved paddling down the river, and camping along it, for three weeks. In this work, fact and fiction become interwoven, as well as the act of making a journey and telling a story.
Stephen has shown in galleries, contemporary art festivals and public spaces in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand. He has undertaken several artist residencies including a one year Australian Residency and various others in Scotland, Mexico and Sri Lanka.
He studied at Glasgow School of Art, Sculpture Department, and lives and works in Glasgow. He has been a visiting lecturer at several art institutes in the UK, Europe and Australia and was a part-time lecturer at Glasgow School of Art and at Valand School of Art, Gothenburg, Sweden, where he was also Course Leader of an MA in Context & Media (2004-2007).
In summer 2012, he was artist-in-residence at a marine-mammal research station in Cromarty, Scotland where he produced several short films in response to that coastal environment and the work being undertaken by marine biologists. The main film, Dead Reckoning has been shown at several video festivals.
In 2014 he was artist-in-residence at Timespan, as part of GENERATION – 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland. He had three solo shows including the new three-screen video installation The Sea, The Sails and the White, White Blades. This piece reflects on the past, present and future of the area with a particular focus on relationships between people, the sea and various energy industries that exist in the far north-east of Scotland.
Whilst on a Cape Farewell expedition in 2011, which involved sailing to the Western Isles of Scotland to explore ideas around sustainability and existing island knowledge, he met social ecologist Dr Ruth Brennan (Scottish Association for Marine Sciences, Oban) and they began to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. Hurrel and Brennan produced several works including a publication (Belonging to the Sea), an online cultural map of the sea (Sea Stories: Barra), and the film Clyde Reflections commissioned by Imagining Natural Scotland in 2014.
Stephen explores possibilities that exist between specialist areas and is interested in innovative outcomes of collaborations with other people. Since 2000 he has explored digital media in relation to permanent public art, with the help of computer expert Robert Farrell.
This has resulted in several innovative public artworks that includes the first permanent outdoor video projection artwork in the UK (One Hundred Books, Leeds), a permanent light-based installation that responds directly to wind speed and wind direction (The Sound of the Wind Looks Like This, Blackpool), a permanent light-based installation that responds to sound levels in a city centre (The Rings, Glasgow) and a unique audio-video gallery installation that taps into live seismic data around the world, via the internet, and translates it directly into sound and associated waveforms (Beneath and Beyond: Seismic Sounds).
He has been the recipient of several major awards including an SAC Creative Scotland Award (2006), an Art Foundation Fellowship Award, London (2008), Creative Scotland First In A Lifetime Award (2012) and a Creative Scotland Open Funding Award (2016)
Completed Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art (Highly Commended) following BA Hons Fine Art, Sculpture Dept., The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
Selected Exhibitions & Events
Beneath and Beyond: Seismic Sounds at Paisley Museum & Art Gallery (1 Feb-15 April 2018)
Working Across Art Forms and Across Borders Performances & group exhibition, ISOP, Graz, Austria (7 Dec 2017)
Contemporary Connections (EISF) Group exhibition, Summerhall, Edinburgh (1 April-12 May)
Colombo Biennale, Sri Lanka invited, (November 2016)
Glasgow Project Room 103 Trongate, solo show of new work (25 June-2 July 2016)
Moving Through Suramedura Residency Exhibition and Public Event, Sri Lanka (12 Dec 2015)
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (GoMA) Installation of Clyde Reflections film (May-July 2015)
Radiophrenia two sound works broadcast on Vernon & Burns sound-art radio station (April)
Centre of Contemporary Art premiere screening of Clyde Reflections by Hurrel and Brennan, Glasgow (11th Sept)
North Sea Hitch three solo shows at Timespan, Helmsdale as part of GENERATION: 25 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland (June-Sept)
Alchemy Film & Media Festival The Borders, Scotland
Sea Change Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (Cape Farewell group exhibition, Nov -Jan 14)
Walk & Talk, Azores outdoor text piece Sea-Stars-Tears and film screening (July)
Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), Manchester, Beneath and Beyond – Solo (April to June)
Modern Edinburgh Film School Talbot Rice Gallery screenings by Alex Hetherington (June)
Sublime Residency Exhibition (Sept), Lighthouse Field Station, Cromarty followed by screenings of Dead Reckoning at Sonica Festival CCA Glasgow, Sublime Event at Inverness Cathedral and OilScapes Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, Exhibition Film Programme (10th Oct)
Soundwave ((5)) Festival San Francisco, USA (August)
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Beneath & Beyond in Environmental Dialogues Programme
One-Minute-Manifesto spoken word, AHM Symposium, Royal National Galleries, Edinburgh
Pixxelpoint 11th International New Media Festival, Slovenia & Italy
Understory Devenport Regional Gallery and Plimsoll Gallery, Tasmania, Australia
John Cage Musicircus Event, Tramway, Glasgow
FestArte Video Art Festival Gallery Macro Testaccio, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome
Art Geo – Drive to Reconnect the Cultural and the Natural Schlosspark, Cologne, Germany
Turbulent Terrain Latrobe Gallery, Victoria, Australia
Beneath and Beyond Tramway, Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Visual Art
Awards & Residencies
Suramedura Artists Residency, Sri Lanka (Nov-Dec 2015)
Timespan artist residency, Helmsdale, Scotland (June-August 2014)
The Clipperton Project interdisciplinary group expedition along Usumacinta River, Mexico (May 2014)
Sublime artist residency at Lighthouse Field Station, Cromarty, Scotland (IOTA, Inverness, Summer 2012)
Cape Farewell interdisciplinary group expedition on a sailing boat in Western Isles of Scotland and one-month residency on the island of Barra
Creative Scotland First In A Lifetime Award working in collaboration with social ecologist Ruth Brennan and local people to produce Sea Stories: Barra, an online cultural map of the sea, island of Barra, Outer Hebrides (2012-13)
Hope Scott Trust award to develop work for Soundwave ((5)), San Francisco (2012)
The Arts Foundation Fellowship Award, London (2008)
SAC Creative Scotland Award (2006)
SAC Australian Residency, 12 months (1997/98)
Imagining Natural Scotland commission for Creative Scotland to produce collaborative art-science film (2013-2014)
Cape Farewell Film Commission based on island of Barra (2012-2013)
Centre of Contemporary Arts (CCA) / Glasgow International, site piece for Gi (2005)
London Printworks Trust, site-specific works for Vauxhall Cross, London (2000)
Tramway@ series of site commissions, Glasgow (1999)
Festival of Contemporary Art, Canberra, Australia (1999)
Hobart Fringe Festival Commissioned by HFF & Plimsoll Gallery, Tasmania (1998)
Permanent Public Art Commissions
New Gorbals Housing Association, Glasgow (Event:space, 2013)
Sligo County Council, Salmon Point, Ireland (Hold Fast, Hang Ten, 2009)
Hydro Consulting Tasmania HQ, Australia (SCAPE, 2008)
Glasgow City Council & Buchanan Galleries, entrance atrium of Buchanan Galleries (The Rings, 2004)
Blackpool Borough Council, South Shore Promenade (The Sound of the Wind Looks Like This, 2003)
Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, England (One Hundred Books, 2002)
Glasgow Sculpture Studios
The Whisky Bond
2 Dawson Road