Stewart MacFarlane

For Figurative artist Stewart MacFarlane 'Lust for Life' is an exhibition of "visual notes" from his everyday experiences.

Ranging across a variety of scenes and landscapes, his works create a sense of the unreal, yet each are anchored by his personal experiences over time. “I never set myself any goals or restrictions before an exhibition starts. The exhibitions reflect the changes in my life. What I do is absorb what is happening and then translate it”, states MacFarlane.

Bright vibrant subject matter are off set by long shadows and bold outlines. Each scene seems set at point of change in the day, an eery state of  transition, creating a sense of uncertainty of what is coming next.

MacFarlane’s practice is shaped by his movement between the US and Australia. He initially lived in the US for eleven years as a young artist, and it still has an ongoing influence over his work, he states “It is very important to me as a figurative painter, America has a stronger history of figurative painting. I left for New York when I was about 21 years old to study painting and be around figurative painters.”

There he studied and worked under major American figurative artists, “it was really important to be amongst these people and see the way they work. I got to meet them through figurative artist John Button, who lived in the same building in Soho, Manhattan as Alex Katz and across the road from Janet Fish and next door to Chuck Close.”

Whilst Lust for Life is MacFarlane’s 65th solo exhibition, his first exhibition took place in the 1979 in New York City. And later this year he will return to the US to be a part of the 50th anniversary of the Roswell Artist in Residence Program.

His vibrant use of colour at first glance seems to draw from Pop sensibilities. But for MacFarlane for him there is no reason to dull the pigment out of the tube. “I feel like if you are going to do something you may as well put as much as you can into it. Why would you tone down the colour palette when you have all these colours available. It is just one of many tools, the drama of the colour, the composition, I want to push everything that I can.”

Lust for Life opens Monday 5 September at Australian Galleries, Melbourne.

Lust for Life

5 – 24 September 2017
Australian Galleries, Melbourne

Courtesy of the artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney.

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