This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Esther Stewart Unveils New Work For Melbourne Art Fair

Studio Visit

Over the past six years, young Melbourne artist Esther Stewart has established herself as one of Australia’s most collectible and celebrated contemporary artists. Her distinctive paintings utilise bold geometry and impossibly precise lines, and often reference contemporary architecture and design.

We recently caught up with Esther, ahead of her upcoming solo exhibition with Sarah Cottier Gallery at next week’s Melbourne Art Fair.

23rd July, 2018

Melbourne-based artist Esther Stewart. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Studio details. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Esther working on art for Melbourne Art Fair. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

See Esther Stewart’s work at Sarah Cottier Gallery at the Melbourne Art Fair next month. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Lucy Feagins
Monday 23rd July 2018

‘I have always been very interested in the nexus of art and design’. – Esther Stewart.

Way back in early 2012, I first met Melbourne artist Esther Stewart. This was at a time when we didn’t work with professional photographers, so I actually photographed Esther’s studio myself. In a ramshackle little studio, in the backstreets of North Melbourne, I met this intensely serious young VCA graduate, and from that very first meeting, it was clear she was going places. ‘I have an inkling that Melbourne based artist Esther Stewart is going to be big’ I wrote in that first article. I didn’t realise just now big, though!

In the six years that have passed since that first meeting, it’s fair to say Esther has established herself as one of Australia’s most celebrated and collectible contemporary artists. Her work has evolved, becoming more complex and layered, though always retaining a focus on bold geometry, distinctive hard-edged lines, and often referencing architecture.

A number of high profile collaborations have also propelled Esther’s practice – most notably, a collaboration with Italian fashion house Valentino (YES!) back in 2015. The luxury label’s entire Autumn / Winter 2015 menswear collection was based on Esther’s paintings, and Esther was flown to Paris to preview the collection, and attend its runway debut. Not bad for a then 27-year old Australian artist!

The following year, in 2016, Esther went on to win Australia’s prestigious Sulman prize, awarded at the Art Gallery NSW for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist.

Represented by Sydney’s Sarah Cottier Gallery, Esther has spent the past five years developing her practice even further. ‘I have focussed on deepening my research, as well as broadening the kinds of other people I work and collaborate with’ Esther says. In particular, she has enjoyed working with architects to develop more ambitious, architectural projects, and other craftspeople to extend the possibilities of her practice.

We recently caught up with Esther at Gertrude Contemporary studios in Preston, where she is currently working on paintings for next week’s Melbourne Art Fair.

For people who are not so familiar with your practice, can you tell us a little about your creative inspirations and process?

I have always been very interested in the nexus of art and design – in particular, the ways I can reimagine, collapse and expand spaces through painting and architecture. There are many wide-ranging historical references in my work, including Islamic mosaic, Constructivism, Bauhaus, and the Memphis Group, but I am also very interested in the social and political implications offered by these influences.

What are you looking forward to about this year’s melbourne Art fair and what value do you see in being involved in art fairs such as this?

This year is the inauguration of the new and improved Melbourne Art Fair, which is exciting. The organisers have encouraged solo presentations, and I am pleased to say that I have been working on a solo exhibition with Sarah Cottier Gallery.

Art fairs can be overwhelming, but done well (which I think Melbourne will be), they can offer audiences a valuable glimpse of what local contemporary art currently looks like.

In recent years, the advent of social media and online marketing platforms have greatly impacted the art world, and the pace at which consumers and collectors  engage with artists and galleries. How do you feel about the changing landscape, and would you say you have embraced the changes?

Being visible in an increasingly global network has its advantages and disadvantages. If anything, I think added exposure and increased pace has been met by an equally significant resistance – a focus on the local, the physical, etc.

Can you tell us some details about the artwork you will be exhibiting at the Melbourne Art Fair?

I am working on six paintings and four carpet works. These are extensions of my current practice that will be displayed on free-standing constructs as well as the booth walls. I’ve been looking at architectural samples and concepts for display modes recently, and envisage the booth to be a deconstructed space in which the works occupy different, staggered ‘planes’ throughout.

What’s next for Esther Stewart?

I am off to Auckland, New Zealand in August for a show with Object Museum, and another with Bowerbank Ninow.

 

See Esther Stewart’s work at Sarah Cottier Gallery at the Melbourne Art Fair next month.

Melbourne Art Fair
August 2nd – 5th
Southbank Arts Precinct (alongside ACCA)
111 Sturt Street
Southbank, Victoria

View Comments

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Cressida Campbell’s Intimate Reflections, Ahead Of Melbourne Art Fair

A studio visit in Sydney’s Bronte with one of Australia’s most esteemed artists, as she prepares an eagerly-awaited exhibition in Melbou...

Art

The Must-See Exhibits At Melbourne Art Fair 2018

We preview eye-catching artworks and installations not to be missed as Melbourne Art Fair returns next month!
Elle Murrell

This Week

02:27

Travel

A Perfect Day in Daylesford & The Macedon Ranges, With Paul Bangay

Lucy joins legendary landscape designer Paul Bangay for a dreamy day trip in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, capturing the best that the

News

An Online Super Store + Subscription Service For All-Natural Goodies

GoodnessMe carries over 3,000 products from snacks to ready-made meals – with samples delivered to your door every month!
Sponsored

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Architecture

A 90m² Inner-Suburban Block Turned Multipurpose Family Home!

MRTN Architects have designed family home, office, and granny flat on a mere 90m² Brunswick East block!
Amelia Barnes
  23 hours ago

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Cressida Campbell’s Intimate Reflections, Ahead Of Melbourne Art Fair

A studio visit with one of Australia’s most esteemed artists, as she prepares an eagerly-awaited exhibition.

Art

The Must-See Exhibits At Melbourne Art Fair 2018

We preview eye-catching artworks and installations not to be missed as Melbourne Art Fair returns next month!
Elle Murrell

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.