The Wisdom of Beauty

Stephen May

The Wisdom of Beauty is an artist’s credo, a statement of personal and philosophical reflection on the “art phenomenon” in human experience. This extended essay starts with the author’s experience as a painter, moves through successive reflections on what constitutes “the good” in both life and art, and returns to the way his best work as a painter emerges from the disappearance of “self” into the process.

The book is a dialogue on the relationship of ethics (the good) and aesthetics (the beautiful), which arrives at the author’s unique vision of their inseparability and the guidance this provides for both art and life.


About the Author

Stephen May was born in Témiscaming, Quebec in 1957. He enrolled in the Photographic Arts Program at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in 1976, and later attended art classes at the Ottawa School of Art. In 1979 he enrolled at Mount Allison University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1983.

He then traveled throughout Europe in order to immerse himself in various collections of great art.  On return to Canada, Stephen took up residence in Fredericton. He obtained a seasonal position with Theatre New Brunswick as a prop builder, which gave him five months a year to devote to painting. In 1992 he was awarded a Canada Council grant enabling him to take a year’s sabbatical from Theatre New Brunswick during which he concentrated on his painting. This step launched Stephen into painting full-time, at which he has continued to be successful.

In subsequent years, Stephen has had numerous public exhibits and has been active in the local arts community. He is professionally represented by Gallery 78 in Fredericton. A selection of his work can be viewed at Gallery78's website.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton has purchased his work for its permanent collection. In 2006, the Beaverbrook mounted a solo retrospective, Stephen May: Embodiments. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Miller Brittain Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts.


Paperback  •  116 pages  •  ISBN 978-1-988299-17-4  •  Published 2018/11/27