‘Dynamic, broken space,’ is how Stefan Dunlop describes his art. While the artist’s previous exhibitions used historical paintings to playfully examine ‘troupes of painting’ in both Western classical and baroque traditions, the Queensland-based painter’s latest body of work breaks away from that concept. As he explains, his paintings have become more fragmented, abstract and his process more collage-based, though most works retain his signature, strong figurative anchor.
‘This work grapples with the visual age that we live in,’ Stefan explains. ‘I’m responding to that via the historical medium of paint – from the stillness of Titian and Masters through the centuries to the technological bombardment of imagery today.’
A slowly evolving body of work created over the past two years, the 10 oil-on-linen paintings come together for ‘Titles are Hard’, an exhibition entitled as an ironic throwback to Stefan’s hours spent grinding away in the studio, and also a reference to the self-questioning this show has involved. ‘As someone responded recently, everything about painting is hard,’ adds the artist.
The 45-year-old came to his practice ‘in a round about way’. He tried out a range of jobs and a degrees not associated with art, before landing in New York for six months, where he enrolled in the New York Studio School. ‘This is what really kick started my painting career,’ he recalls. ‘Now I work in splendid isolation on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.’
Stefan’s studio shed is located on a farm 20 minutes from his home near Eumundi.‘There is plenty of space and the isolation feeds into my work and allows me to focus without distraction for the most part. It’s a great spot and allows me to cut loose,’ he tells.
Nevertheless, spending time in considerably more-populated Melbourne to unveil this exhibition has been a joy for the painter. ‘It’s great to interact with viewers and chat with them about their own responses to the work, and just to hangout with the work and people for a while,’ Stefan says. If you can tear yourself away from that daily stream of screen imagery, we recommend getting acquainted with the works in real life!
Stefan Dunlop’s work will also be featured in a forthcoming group exhibition at Galerie pompom, and also at Edwina Corlette Gallery in late 2018.