Life Fragments

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Life Fragements I, Feature 2
Life Fragments I, Feature

ORT_Logo  Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 2 January 2021

Life Fragments I

A work by Tony Stewart in September 2002.


Introduction

One of the pluses and minuses of making photomedia artworks on the computer — as well as not enough time in the fresh air — is that it is possible to make very large works that will sit in cyberspace for years, before you have enough money or a convincing enough reason to print them in hard copy.

In the next few articles on my making art, I am going to describe and attempt to show large works – some of which I have exhibited and some of which I haven’t. The latter I have only viewed as small-scale versions and as details.


Terms for Digital Works

In my article Pandemic Art Update is used the word cartoon as a description of a small-scale physical print of a much larger work. This isn’t an ideal term as cartoon in art used to refer to a full-size drawing or modello (model) for a painting, stained glass, or tapestry. Cartoons are particularly relevant to frescoes, but also to tapestry, where pin-pricks can be used to transfer the design to a wall or pattern.

There are no new words for these words in digital art. A sketch is traditionally a rough drawing or painting, in which an artist explores preliminary ideas for a much larger work to be made with much more precision and detail. My friend Allan Byrne suggested digi-sketch. In one sense digi-sketch is appropriate because the smaller version, together with details (a blown up specific area of the work) may suggest changes before the larger work is printed, but in another it is not because the digi-sketch is an exact copy of the final version of the artwork.

Life Fragments 1, Detail 1990s to 2000
Life Fragments 1, Detail 1990s to 2000

In other words a smaller-version in digital art is useful in the sense of creating a model that one can use to examine and correct, before embarking on the final printing of the large-scale version. Another concept that of a detail, a blown-up or expanded part of the whole, is also incredibly useful in the decision-making process. And, is a term that is both useful in conventional and digital art. (The use of details is important in describing paintings: see my article on Hieronymus Bosch.)

Thumbnail is another concept that though useful and important does not describe what I am talking about, either. However, let’s not get caught up in semantics. It is the process that is important not the label.

Another way of looking at the issue is to think of postcards and larger catalogue prints of major well-known artworks (let’s not worry about the issue of colour reproduction and assume that the colours are a perfect representation of the original).

Unless, you know the original painting — a knowledge based solely on a postcard or even a good catalogue print, often means that you are completely surprised when you finally view the original artwork, because it is not at all what you had expected.

The problem with a digital ‘cartoon’ or a digi-sketch for a much larger-scale work is that it does not really reflect what the work is going to look like in a much larger size. In my work this is sometimes not a problem, but sometimes it’s a major problem.

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Pandemic Art Update

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Featured Image, Tony Stewart, Pandemic Print Exchange
Featured Image, Tony Stewart, Pandemic Print Exchange

ORT_Logo  Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 1 September 2020

Pandemic Art Update 2020 — work in progress

Preamble

I don’t know how many artists consider the process of their art and their art practice and how many never reflect upon it. When I was involved in science (biology), I was very interested in the process of how science works. Indeed, I was interested in the philosophy of science and science practice.

Most scientists, however, didn’t give a hoot about the process or philosophy of science other than learning to conduct their work as a rigorous practice that would pass muster under the peer review system. This approach didn’t have any direct negative consequences. Except in biology, I thought occasionally the gung ho approach led to an indifference to statistical processes and sometimes to poor and even wrong analysis. Most scientists, however, didn’t give a hoot about the process or philosophy of science other than learning to conduct their work as a rigorous practice that would pass muster under the peer review system. This approach didn’t have any direct negative consequences. Except in biology, I thought occasionally the gung ho approach led to an indifference to statistical processes and sometimes to poor and even wrong analysis.

With reference to art, some artists are interested in the process of how they make art and why, while others just get on with it. I naturally fit in to the former camp and because of this I tend to see some benefits, though not enough to justify any artist from changing their natural inclinations.

Untitled 1, November 2018, Linocut, 30 x 30 cm
Untitled 1, November 2018, Linocut, 30 x 30 cm

The benefits I see are that you are at least aware of the flow of your work and its direction. While you may not pay much attention to your process when the flow is energetic, creative and satisfying. And, you have barely enough time to make the work you are driven to create. When things change, you may be more able to understand.

You may be frustrated that things aren’t the way they used to be, but you also have the tools to analyse why. You can either accept the hiatus; or you can seek out reasons and techniques to cope with change. You are more likely to be experimental and to seek out new directions.

This is not meant to be overly philosophical, but I am interested in my own practice. For ten years, I became what I termed an accidental artist, but I was inspired by what I was doing and powered ahead without thinking more than necessary about the process. The period was creative and immensely satisfying. Then came the hiatus. I basically stopped what I had been doing and for a long time engaged in what I thought of as mucking around, including going to basic courses with my partner Denise.

More recently, I taught myself linocutting and joined a print making cooperative called Megalo in Canberra to learn how to print my works professionally. I still haven’t explored the extent of my potential relationship with Megalo Print Studio.

Also recently, I have done several more courses and joined a Thursday art group hosted by artist Jenny Manning, which I have found both inspiring and stimulating. Because of this group, I have begun to place works in exhibitions and have expanded my repertoire. Continue reading “Pandemic Art Update”

Moral Ambiguities 2011: A Major Solo Exhibition

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Dress Rehearsal for the end of the world (major players not required), 2011, Digital Print on Arches Velin Museum Rag, 152 x 112 cm

Featured Image: Dress Rehearsal for the End of the World (major players not required), 2011, Digital Print on Arches Velin Museum Rag, 152 x 112 cm

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  2 June 2017

Moral Ambiguities, A Major Solo Exhibition


Moral Ambiguities Tony Stewart

Huw Davies Gallery, Manuka Arts Centre, Canberra, 27 October — 13 November, 2011

Introduction

Moral Ambiguities in 2011 was a major exhibition because it was a compilation of artworks that had been tentatively shown elsewhere in smaller size. It was the first time that the majority of works from this period had been shown together in one venue and at full size.

The exhibition highlighted two major streams of work that I had been working on since 2006. Continue reading “Moral Ambiguities 2011: A Major Solo Exhibition”

Tag II 2007: Solo Exhibition

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Featured Image: Hidden worlds #3, Harmony & Discord, October 2003, Digital Lambda Print, 23x23 cm
Featured Image: Detail from Hidden worlds #3, Harmony & Discord, October 2003, Digital Lambda Print, 23×23 cm

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  21 August 2016

Tag II February 2007: A Solo Exhibition at X Gallery, Bungendore


Tag II Tony Stewart

X Gallery, 32 Gibraltar Street, Bungendore NSW, 22 February to 22 April, 2007


Introduction

On suggestions by friends and mentors, I decided to revisit the Tag Exhibition with a smaller version in a different location. This was also a first for me in moving a major exhibition into what could in effect be called a smaller travelling exhibition, except only to one place and not that far.

Continue reading “Tag II 2007: Solo Exhibition”

Tag 2005: A Major Solo Exhibition

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Featured image: The Old Red Tag Series #1 & #3, 119 x 84 cm
Featured image: The Old Red Tag Series #1 & #3, 119 x 84 cm

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  7 May 2016

 Tag 2005: A Major Solo Exhibition


Tag Tony Stewart

Huw Davies Gallery, Manuka Arts Centre, Canberra 1-19 September 2005

Tag n. a label providing identification or giving other information

Meta Tag n. a hidden label intended to lure a search engine


Introduction

Following the success of my two opening exhibitions Use By and Transit in 2002, I set out to create a body of work in a new direction, but building on the inspiration that I began with.

One driving idea behind the making of work during this period was the idea of SIMPLICITY that is focusing down and trying to create meaningful work with few elements.

The other idea, which actually took up much more time, was the honing of skills learned and technique, that is, getting much better at the photomedia methods that I had been learning on the computer, and attempting to produce a more polished product through practice.

Continue reading “Tag 2005: A Major Solo Exhibition”

Artists Exchange Portfolios 2003 & 2005

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Tony Stewart Untitled, 2005, 33 x 33 cm

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 6 March 2016


Artists Exchange Portfolios ’23’ 2003 and ’33’ 2005

One exciting consequence of the Australian Art Collector 2003 article was an invitation by Rona Green to participate in an Artists Exchange Portfolio.

Continue reading “Artists Exchange Portfolios 2003 & 2005”

Art Collector 2003

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Featured Image Art Collector 2003
Featured Image Art Collector 2003

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 15 February 2016


Undiscovered Artists, rising stars

Australian Art Collector Issue 24, April to June 2003


Introduction

Australian Art Collector Issue24, 2003Launched in 1997 Art Collector (previously Australian Art Collector) has positioned itself as the must read for art collectors in Australia, a far more commercial aspiration than, for example ARTAND Australia. Art Collector is best known for its annual feature Australia’s 50 most collectible artists. It also has as an annual feature ‘Undiscovered artists, rising stars’.

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Transit 2002: My First Solo Exhibition

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Transit Invitation, 2002
Transit Invitation, 2002

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 8 January 2015


Introduction

Transit came about because in applying for Use By, I also ended up with a spot in Canberra Contemporary Art Space’s facility in Manuka later in the year. This put me under pressure but also forced me to expand on the ideas generated by Use By. It also forced me to attempt to improve on the techniques and also the execution of my preliminary foray into art. And, although it was a satisfying experience, it was also exhausting.

Continue reading “Transit 2002: My First Solo Exhibition”

Use By 2002: my first art exhibition

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Use By Invitation 2002
Use By Invitation 2002

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  6 October 2015


Accidental artist

We came back to Canberra from Brisbane in April 2000. My job in Brisbane had come to an end and I was in no hurry to work. I began looking for an icon that represented the late twentieth century and part of my lifetime. I’d been thinking of computer chips and boards and vaguely thought of making art.

Continue reading “Use By 2002: my first art exhibition”