Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stephen Thompson's self portraits...

Grouped installation shot 019
A view of Stephen's works at GROUPED.

I am always amazed at people who work on self-portraits.  It can be a very difficult thing to constantly look at yourself and also within yourself to create art.  Many would say that everything an artist does is a self-portrait as you give so much to the work and inevitably, your own stamp is placed on it.

Emerging artist Stephen Thompson presents a series of five self-portrait works for this exhibition.  In the catalogue he talks a little bit about his inspiration and working methods.

Excerpt from catalogue by Stephen Thompson...
I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and travelled a lot during my childhood. After graduating high school in Dallas, Texas, I moved to study in Melbourne.


This series of works are inspired by a recent transformative phase and differ from previous works. I discarded the psychotic expressionist mark making for a more refined and controlled realist look. I'm often reminded of William Kentridge's quote "to paint in an absolutely realistic manner is impossible but also pointless". I agree in some ways but believe that to truly distort a work in an expressionist way, you must first be able to accurately portray the subject, whatever it may be.


These works all follow roughly the same work methodology; ipod, projector, MDF, white wash background and various ink washes. Some people believe using a projector to assist in art creation is cheating. I asked artist Godwin Bradbeer what he thought of the use of projectors, as guides, he said only two words "whatever works". This methodology works for me.

My practice can be obsessive; I can't go five minutes without thinking about what to create next. The real work, the finished pieces are produced in the wee hours of the morning, while everyone is sleeping. Solitude helps to block out all the distractions.

The important things about these works, although being self portraits, is the notion that everything you look at, you can see yourself reflected in it at least on some level.