Melbourne based artist Esther Stewart has made a big impact on the Australian art scene in a relatively short time since graduating in 2010. However Stewart’s aesthetic and methodology is something that has evolved. Often blurring boundaries between art, architecture and design, her works also toy with being functional, like her sculptures that double as display screens for paintings, and her patterned carpets that can be displayed on the wall and her paintings that resulted in a collaboration with the designer of the Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Menswear Collection for Valentino.
Stewart is interested ‘the utopian idea of domesticity’; the desire to create a personalised haven, even when resources are limited and reality falls short of ones dreams. Idealised models for living embodied in floor-plans, flat-pack kit or display homes, even dolls houses, pop-up books and theatre sets also provide source material for Stewart’s work Drawing on these ideas and uniting her sculptural and painting practices, Stewart explores decorative vocabularies and the nostalgic fetishising of vintage styles.
Stewart continues her enquiry into the aesthetics and ethos of DIY home improvements in her exhibition at Two Rooms, her first in New Zealand. She utilises geometric designs, referencing modernist abstraction and acknowledging the ornamental trappings of architecture and interior decoration. Home decorating has associations with the feminine and Stewart has used this domestic vernacular to personalise her most recent abstract foray in the form of fabric wall hangings. The cotton drill hangings are made to the measurements of a standard double bed, 54 x 74 inches, designed to resemble bedspreads, with complementary scalloped edging, and the hint of pillowcases evident. There is interplay between strict forms and idiosyncratic colour combinations that result in the illusion of space and depth.
Press release courtesy Two Rooms.