Experimentation, spontaneity and freedom are the cornerstones of Stefan Dunlop’s most recent art practice. Known throughout his career for compositions that combine art historical references with fragments of colour and form, his work presents a unique narrative twist on western classical and baroque traditions as well as the often-overwhelming image-based world we live in.
Beginning with reference images taken from pop culture or art history, or something that has piqued his interest online, Dunlop works quickly using a combination of collage and projection to compose the elements before transferring his ideas to canvas. Working in oils, he lets the process determine the direction, giving himself permission to wreck, remove and revisit ideas as he paints. He works across multiple paintings at a time, using this method as a forced separation that allows him to step back, take time to consider each canvas and remain spontaneous. The longer he spends on a painting the more abstracted it becomes, leading to the reintroduction of grounding elements such as fine art references and historical figures to add depth, and a sense of purpose
Of late Dunlop has relaxed further into his painting, free of the niggling pressure to prove himself. His approach is now less outcome-driven and more playful, evidenced by his use of brighter colours and looser mark making. Though still challenging the physical limitations of painting and keen to simultaneously respect and subvert artistic traditions, his process has become more about the enjoyment of the work than the end result.
Stefan Dunlop studied art at the Brisbane Institute of Art from 1994-96 before undertaking further studies at the Chelsea College of Art, London, the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and the New York Studio School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture, New York. In 2010 he attended the University of Texas Art Residency program, and in 2014 completed the Leipzig International Art Program at the Spinnerei in Leipzig, Germany. Finalist in the Sunshine Coast Art Prize (2019, 2007), the Gold Coast Art Prize (2010, 2008, 2006, 2003), and the Clayton Utz Art Award (2010), his work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions through Australia as well as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Germany and New York. His work is held in public and private collections including Parliament House Collection, Canberra; Artbank, Sydney; and the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.
Carrie McCarthy 2022