Art Nomad
Art Nomad
Brighton, Victoria 3186 Australia
Ph: 0407 501 808
ABN: 66 086 690 771
Send us an E-mail

Click an Image below to Enlarge

Stewart Angus MACFARLANE (b.1953)

Stuart MacFarlane is a leading Australian figurative artist born in Adelaide in 1953. His early artistic influences were drawn from South Australia, notably from his secondary school art teacher David Dridan, the Art Gallery of South Australia collections, and exhibitions at the Bonython Gallery in Adelaide, which showed major figurative artists such as Sid Nolan, David Boyd, Charles Blackman and Robert Dickerson.

Both his artistic career – and a life of extensive travel - began early. At the age of sixteen, MacFarlane enrolled at the South Australian School of Art where he studied under David Dallwitz. Graduating with a Diploma of Fine Arts (Painting) in 1974, he left Australia the following year for New York where he settled for the next eight years. In New York, he took a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from the School of Visual Arts in 1977 and met John Button, a teacher there, who became his mentor. Button was a champion of the form of realism most commonly associated with such New York School artists as Fairfield Porter, Jane Freillicher, Alex Katz and Janet Fish (who also taught at the School of Visual Arts).

Through Button, MacFarlane was introduced to Janet Fish, Chuck Close, and Alex Katz. He was also offered residencies at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine, the Fine Arts Work Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts and the MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire and held three solo exhibitions, notably at the Australian Consulate New York in 1983.

Whilst living in the US, MacFarlane also pursued a career in the music industry forming a band "Stew Lane and the Untouchables" which performed and recorded in New York City between 1979 and 1981. During this time, he continued to paint and also to work in the studios of Janet Fish, Alex Katz and Chuck Close – all of whom were key influencers on his style*

MacFarlane returned to Australia in 1983, moving to Melbourne the following year for post-graduate studies at the Victorian College of the Arts graduating in 1984. In 1985, he taught at The Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education and in 1986, moved to Darlinghurst, Sydney to paint. Later that year, he was artist-in-residence in the Besozzo Studio, Italy.  Back in Australia in 1987, MacFarlane lived and painted in Mornington, Victoria for several months before receiving an initial residency with the Roswell Artist-in-residence program, New Mexico for a year.

Over the next eight years, Stuart MacFarlane was to travel between Melbourne, Sydney, and Roswell, producing one or more solo exhibitions each year. In 1994, he received a residency at The Bemis Centre, Omaha, Nebraska in the US. Back in Australia in 1995, he settled in Queensland where he remained for the next seven years, basing himself in Maryborough, then New Farm and then the Sunshine Coast.  The now much-travelled MacFarlane went south to Hobart from 2002 until 2011 before coming back to mainland Australia.

MacFarlane’s work has been described as, "… pared-down 'realism' (with expressionist touches) combined with a surreality of lighting and perspective.”** Stylistically he owes much to Alex Katz, and intellectually he was also influenced by the work and thinking of John Brack whose art he saw at the Art Gallery of South Australia while growing up in Adelaide.

In his own words, Stewart MacFarlane says his influences include, "…diary entries of my experiences, current situations, physical locations and mind spaces". ***

His favoured subject matter includes stylised locations and the presence of figures - especially nude and semi-nude women; many have a dark and disturbing quality. MacFarlane works with primary colours, straight from the tube, with a broad brush, showing his natural talent for paint application, drawing, colour, texture, and content.

Five decades after commencing his studies and now a professional painter for many decades, Stewart MacFarlane is considered one of Australia's finest, most enigmatic and respected contemporary artists.

His work is held in major collections both in Australia and internationally including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Artbank, Sydney; Alice Springs Art Foundation, Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, New Mexico, USA; Artbank, Australia; Brisbane City Gallery, Queensland; Curtin University Gallery, Perth; Griffith University, Brisbane; Latrobe Valley Arts Centre, Victoria; Lawrence Wilson Gallery, University of Western Australia; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

*            Apost Cruz artist biography
**          Helmridge-Marsillian, Veronique, Stewart MacFarlane, Riddles of Life,
              Craftsman House, Sydney, 1996, pp 29-30
***        Australian Galleries Roylston Street, Sydney, Catalogue, June - July 2013

 by Wordmakers 2018.


Additional information

< Back to Artists


NOTICE: The browser you are using is not capable of rendering this website correctly. Click here for more information.