Surface. Texture. Shadow. The play of light on fabric, the transparency of glass, the softer structures of draped silk and the pure contours of ceramics, eggs or a pear. Painting the unique in the commonplace is Claire Stening’s obsession. Her compositions approach a calm, almost weightless monumentality, and her natural inclination toward a neutral palette adds contemporaneity to her work while also calling to mind the sublime paintings of Italian modernist Giorgio Morandi.
As a self-confessed “hoarder of the old and beautiful”, Stening paints still lifes in a harsher, whiter and more natural light than the creamy tonalities employed by the Old Masters. Her treatment of the enduring presence of objects that daily surround us continues the tradition of imbuing material reality with historical and symbolic importance. Strong elements of ‘today’, ‘here’, and ‘real’ are at play in her work, especially when she deftly depicts the worn surfaces of old copper pots or antique bottles with fresh, startling immediacy.
Claire received a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Communication from Chisholm Institute of Technology (now Monash University) in 1987, and has exhibited extensively throughout Australia. She was a finalist in the Portia Geech Memorial Award 2010 and was invited to show with the Salon Des Refusés each year from 2008-2010. Her work is held in numerous private collections. Carol Schwarzman