Stella Clarke



The Paintings: ‘Art of Nostalgia’

In my ‘Art of Nostalgia’ series, the painting is figurative, human, and narrative. These paintings are inspired by a spectrum of childhood, personal or cultural memories. I often delve into old documents and archives of photos (and I consider commissions on this basis). The vintage thematic goes beyond decorative appeal, to an imaginative revival of emotional experiences and and social interactions which emerged from more constricted ways of living, which were nevertheless, in some ways, fuller and more immediately ‘lived’. The idea of ‘nostalgia’ in these works is a rich one, encompassing not only a whimsical yearning for the past, but also images to contemplate by which we might assess our present. Our interactions and experiences have been made less real, and more virtual, now, by a variety of technologically advanced social mediums and activities. The ‘group portrait’ genre that appears in this collection is also a reminder of a fading dimension of our sociality. Though retrospective in part, the images are also energetic and contemporary. The style references vintage photographic conventions, and is characterized by bold drawing, foregrounding rather than effacing the ‘art’ or ‘artifice’ involved. I hope these works will move you, take you back or make you think a little differently about your ‘now’.

Biographical Note

After completing post-graduate studies and teaching at tertiary level in the UK, I moved to Australia, where I continued to teach across arts and humanities subjects, and also wrote for the national press. Art history, drawing and painting, have always been of central importance to my life and studies, and this interest was deepened by time travelling in Europe, including a year spent in Florence, immersed in Renaissance art and pursuing life drawing. I started work as a full time professional artist five years ago, exhibiting and selling in shows, solo and group exhibitions in premium galleries around Melbourne and Victoria.