Visiting Artist at Frankston Chisholm
Artist Talk and Short Movie Covering Antarctic Residency
Before any artist chat I like to get some information about the experience and qualifications of the person I am about to listen to. That little bit of research beforehand can set you up to listen with some understanding of where the person is coming from.
Stephen’s biography was extensive and impressive. He has a BFA from Melbourne University (VCA), a Diploma of Education from the University of Tasmania, and an Honorary Certificate of Achievement from the University of Oslo. He has also held over sixty solo exhibitions, several group exhibitions and is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and several other prestigious galleries worldwide.
With a few decades of practical experience as a working artist and teacher it was a pleasure to listen to this entertaining and informative speaker.
Today Stephen was concentrating on his residency in the Australian Antarctic Site. Having visited the region during the “milder” months of the year for shorter periods, Stephen was keen to return for a longer stay to see what he could take away from seeing the changes that the southern most land on the planet could offer especially during winter.
Representing the Australian Antarctic Division with his art in his travels around the world meant that Stephen was happily accepted for this expensive and difficult role. The ropes that run between buildings for the residents are not for show, the wind is strong and dangerous and whiteouts are not uncommon. Cabin fever is something that must be thought about before even thinking of going there as due to the nature of the area, a lot of time can be spent waiting for it to be safe enough to go outside.
Considering all of this, it is interesting that Stephen has gone to Antarctica nine times. He has travelling to many other countries, but loves this place the most. His artworks produced whilst there are like the landscape itself. Stark, simple, raw, but not simplistic. Stephen has taken elements of his experience and designed impressions of thoughts, feelings, the vastness and beauty of the ice, wind, long dark days and low set sun on the horizon to pass on in his drawings and paintings.
These are not traditional observational drawings or paintings, they are contemporary, sharp and critical in the way they pull out single items or combine various things he has seen to create artworks that reflect his experiences.
Not only a dedicated artist and creator of stunning drawings, Stephen was also an interesting and funny speaker. He started with a funny quip and just kept going. One thing that can keep a group listening and remembering a presentation is that mix of information and entertainment, and Stephen was very good at it.
Considering his broad range of professional experience and what sounded like a very busy schedule, Stephen was able to give us at a local TAFE a great artist talk. I feel very privileged to have been there today.
If you would like to see some of Stephen’s work it is on his web site at: www.stepheneastaugh.com.au