past work / past shows
These are paintings of people who spend their everyday lives growing food, in community gardens and small market gardens. This series had a focus on Plein-air painting. The process was to take the canvas into the garden, set up and paint on site. Surrounded by plants and people, working them into edible things. There is a documentary element here a desire to capture an essence of daily life. Also a desire to honour the hard work and amazing achievements I have observed in these people and gardens.
Workers in Dirt
Silo, Park / Wynard Park
Auckland, New Zealand
Eco Elders New Lynn ($1400)
Oil on canvas, 2014.
A very tidy meticulous garden just behind New Lynn shops run by a community of New Lynn Chinese Elders. Seeing how well kept this garden was made me think that more public space should be turned over to groups such as these; to look after and grow food in, to share and to feel a sense of protection over.
Orakei Marae Maara (SOLD)
Oil on canvas, 2014.
Plenty of fun! Orakei Marae Maara runs as a teaching garden which also provides for the Marae kitchen. The garden is managed by Richelle and on-hand garden tutor Judy. They meet every Tuesday and work hard for four hours to keep the garden looking good and producing. The garden is a welcoming space.
Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae (SOLD)
Oil on canvas (950mm x1050mm), 2014.
This Marae is based around the Maara-garden run by Val and Lionel with the support of their whanau and friends. Each year they grow tons of kumara. While I was painting there was a preschool visiting and all the little ones toured through the garden after being welcomed on by Val. Hearing the karanga ring out across the worked earth and the peace of the place was truly beautiful.
Tawhai Tamepo, a Maori Pioneer Battalion veteran of Waipiro Bay, in a series of war diaries, has recorded beautifully and clearly the moments worth remembering.
His words so measured and polite describe both the horrors of war and the adventures they got to have around the edges of it. The diary moves along from scene to scene like a movie. In this way it seems a very visual record and transposes into images very readily.
I have endeavored with these paintings to depict the images Tamepo documents and present them as memories.
So that the viewer will feel the nostalgia and the dream like quality as they travel through his recordings. The image is there but seen through the fog of time. After all, these events have been re-written by Tamepo himself then remodeled again in paint by me to be presented as shiny little gems of memory, shaking in the wind but still here.
MŌ TE EMEPAEA
–For the Empire
Gisborne, New Zealand
This series of works saw a transition from abstraction to figurative in the practice. The series was loosely based on the swirling composition of a Turner, wild seascape. Where the eye is lead around the painting picking up meaning on the way. The content depicts four different feelings around one relationship set in time. There is a raw truth to these works that still resonates.
All the Little Monsters
Embedded within both the process and the finished
works is the notion of the everyday. These paintings
are painted in the garage
and constructed from things left over from everyday
life or within reach of
the subject matter, i.e. available to someone experiencing the early stages of motherhood. The effect is that the paintings begin to operate asan extension to daily life rather then being separate from it. To imply meaning within these basic assemblages is to apply meaning to daily life.
– Thesis extract for the degree of Masters of Design
The Nuances of Human Stories
and the Language of Paint
Te Po Gallery
Auckland, New Zealand
"Stewart responded to living in Melbourne's dense urban environment in the heat and the drought at the end of the Howard years by embarking on a series of paintings that captured the intensity of life in the city. These paintings converge on multiple stories: all-moving and butting up against one another, expressing the chaos created by co-habitation and communities. Each painting inhabits its own world and perceptions; literal and abstracted narratives swirl within each work, speaking of the internal and external worlds we inhabit."
– Threaded Magazine
Love of it – Issue 2008
Eight New Paintings