Gleam

20/03/2019 - 13/04/2019

Vanessa Stockard

Vanessa Stockard
Chateaux Entity II

2019

oil on canvas

35.00 x 27.00 cm

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Gleam

Born in Sydney in 1975 Vanessa Stockard spent her formative years in a small country town in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. At 12 she returned to Sydney as a boarder at Abbotsleigh. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts (COFA) Sydney in 1998 with a BFA, Stockard joined the avant-garde art scene in the bohemian village of Glebe.

Twenty years of introspection and experimentation, ranging over a number of media, have forged Vanessa’s style and vulcanised her craft, enabling her to reveal complex misdemeanours, while simultaneously demanding the viewer’s self-reflection. She deals with isolation and sadness with intimate care and attention.

Vanessa is unhindered by failure, always continuing the discovery of things previously unseen, revealing work that is fresh, unlaboured and penetrating. The deceptive everyday nature of her subject matter belies hidden depths of relationship, feeling and emotion. One could describe her process as absence of thought, a freedom of construct, not unlike the stream of consciousness associated with authors such as Hemmingway and Thomas Wolfe.

If light and shade were students, she would be their master. This skill, combined with a naturally deft hand and a determined use of perspective, imbue her subjects with gravitas. The artist refers to set design elements that often alter and morph as her piece progresses. She has said she feels grounded from her ability to draw from the benign surrounds of familiar life, infusing these images with a meaning that yields a meditative satisfaction.

Stockard’s oeuvre features many pieces developed without any direct visual reference but rather from memory, often incorporating domestic pets such as cats and dogs. Juxtaposing the anthropomorphic nature these animals are given by our society, she infuses the personification of virtue and vice into the everyday canine and feline status quo of our pets. Cats with their fluffy comical exteriors glint with an instinctive urge to kill and cruelly torment their prey, dogs with their providence of happiness, loyalty and friendship are flung back onto Churchill’s menacing metaphor for depression.

The Kafkaesque mindset behind such works is reminiscent of the existentialist authors like Sartre and Camus. Absurdism appears with cake imagery and its relation to a childlike nostalgia for happiness which may never be real, but rather imaginary, unattainable and unachievable. It’s been said “pain is inexhaustible, it’s only people who get exhausted…”

One can never “have it all”, to be both the artist and patron. To intrinsically understand those things around us that others overlook is what we want from our artists, our creatives. They give voice to the profound mystery of the world around us, surrounded as we are with consumerism, pointless greed, deceit and dissatisfaction. There’s no pretension here in these paintings, just spontaneous insight and beauty. Some art is said to speak volumes, but these works are more like innocent and delicate poems, whispering untold truths with an economy of words.


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