Fitting in with Misfits
Lena Owen | On 16, Jun 2017
Steve Lopes is a prolific Australian landscape and figurative painter and I was lucky enough to make his Artist Talk at Mitchell Fine Art Gallery in relation to his Island of Misfits exhibition. He spoke of his interest in the landscape and humanity. His wonder of the ability of people to settle in these harsh, far flung parts of the world. It is this humanity in his works that may be the secret to his longevity in the industry. To seek to know ourselves through art is a never-ending goal.
Steve has captured landscapes in his plein air works and also presents some larger studio pieces. He spoke of how he often sees these plein air works as sketches, studies for larger works. The immediacy of capturing a vista is apparent in the thick brushstrokes of the studies which seem to have inherent momentum.
His larger studio pieces are complex works with studied composition and a variety of elements. Steve spoke of the need to push a work to its breaking point. That the final stroke can change a good painting to a great painting. He was open about the possibility of pushing a work too far and losing it. But, as he shared, you learn from that experience and the next time you won’t make that same mistake and could create an amazing painting. It was refreshing to hear an artist speak about their journey as an artist in an open and honest manner.
Of all the works, it was Votive Landscape and Figure that stayed with me. When surrounded by a gallery full of impressive paintings, it is easy to zoom past the technique and skill in each work. I took a few extra moments in front of Votive Landscape and Figure and kept returning. The sky features the quick thick brushstrokes of Steve’s plein air studies but the grass is filled with dabs of colour clearly the result of hours in the studio. The ability to keep working a painting, to go with the artist intuition and add a dab of white, a dash of blue, till the work is layered and balanced is truly awe inspiring. More than the meaning of the work or the skill in figurative painting, it is that grass that has truly impressed me. Days later I am still comprehending the balance and colour.
I implore you all to take a moment and head to the gallery to view the work for yourself. Whether you head in for a late start at the office and clack, clack, clack across the gallery floor – view this image. Whether you shake off your dusty boots at the entrance and move through the gallery in fluro – take a moment to breathe in this painting. Skip the coffee and instead wheel your prams through the glass door and lets your eyes wander over and through the work.
This is Australian Art. This is our current cultural scene. Come be a part of it.
What: Island of Misfits exhibition by Steve Lopes
When: Wednesday 7 June until Saturday 1 July
Where: Mitchell Fine Art Gallery, 86 Arthur St, Fortitude Valley QLD
More Info: Event page online
Image Credit: â€˜Island of Misfits Study II,â€™ â€˜The Eggman,â€™ and â€˜Votive Landscape and Figureâ€™ by Steve Lopes, courtesy of Mitchell Fine Art Gallery