Malu Stewart: A Long Summer
Curated by Cecilia Brunson
Exhibition: November 10th – December 2nd, 2010
Open Monday to Friday 10 am – 6 pm
After decades of intense discussions about the residual effects of colonialism on different peoples and cultures, artists from the so-called peripheries often still find themselves having to live up to certain expectations about where their art is produced, what kind of socio-political circumstances it responds to, or what local audiences it is aimed at. After returning to Chile from studying at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in the mid nineties, Stewart attempted to find a link between unorthodox, everyday materials and the formal lessons inherited by European abstraction. “A Long Summer” is an appropriation of Claude Monet’s widely reproduced “Nympheas” series. In these paintings we find the watery landscapes that have become iconic, filled with images from the garden Monet created in Giverny. Monet’s paintings were a source material Stewart used in her process of translation of European modernism. Stewart’s paintings are made to the exact proportions as Monet’s, however it is the complex pictorial production technique of knotted embroidery stitches made of pipe cleaners that makes these works unique. A sense of visual fascination emanates from the woven canvas, converting Monet’s oil paintings into an optical, chromatic and textural experiment. Monet’s landscape had more to do with a certain “technology of vision” or an illusion of reality than anything else. He did not sketch with his gardeners what he saw in the landscape but rather designed what he would see in the garden from the perspective of painting. Malu Stewart, by using handicraft materials, verges on the garish and sentimental. She plays with the notion of what may or may not be a source of reliable and truthful information about a painting. Thus, we encounter a humorously exaggerated, material-based work, about the discourse of landscape painting, which blatantly exceeds reality. This is Malu Stewart’s first one–person show in England.
Malu Stewart (b. 1962) lives and works in Santiago, Chile. After graduating from Universidad Católica de Chile, Stewart was bestowed a scholarship by the Chilean government and the British Council to complete a post graduate degree at The Slade School of Fine Art (1992–1995). In London, Stewart was nominated for and won the Cyril Sweett Award in the Summer shows of 1995 in the Slade, granted by The Worshipful Company of Painter–Stainers. Stewart has been nominated on two occasions to the National Funds for the Arts and Culture (Fondart), Government of Chile. Her work can be found in numerous private and public art collections in Chile and abroad such as The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas and ABN AMRO Bank, Sao Paulo, within others.
Cecilia Brunson (b. 1972) is an independent curator based in London. For more than a decade she has worked in New York and Latin America. Her career began in 1991 in New York at the age of nineteen. For ten years she built a collection of Latin American art with the Edwards publishing family. In 2001 after graduating from the Centre for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, she was appointed Coordinator of Exhibitions at The Americas Society in New York. This was followed by an invitation to be Associate Curator of Latin American Art at The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. Because of her interest in supporting emerging artists and bringing to light the work of up-and-coming curators she founded INCUBO in Chile. This was a residency program for international curators to innovate and experiment with different formats for exhibitions, lectures and publications. She recently co-founded the AMA Fellowship, a grant that facilitates residencies abroad for Chilean artists. Her writings appear in Artforum and in various artist catalogues.