Painting for a Room
In his first solo exhibition at Fort Delta, Adrian Stojkovich presents a prolific body of new work that builds upon his interest in representational painting. Vivid colours, perspectival spaces, as well as the heightened use of texture, repetitions, and temporalities all frequent the work and make for playful, conceptually rich images.
Amongst these paintings The Yellow Table is first by virtue of its ambition. The painting presents an expansive yellow tablecloth with no perimeter; instead it extends in three directions beyond the edges of the pictorial surface. The cloth becomes an object in the space of the picture, and a flat field of pattern and colour, coincident with the flat surface of the painting itself. This is a subtle pictorial conceit; one that places the objects that are on the tablecloth in a kind of limbo. They are at once in the painting and on it. The Yellow Table doesn’t merely flatten space into an abstract schema. It balances the abstract and the pictorial in a gangly, balletic harmony, and in so doing it offers itself both generously and carefully.
Disparate influences are likewise balanced in Stojkovich’s latest paintings which take a serial approach to image- making both influenced by and painted within the confines of the domestic realm. The Black Cat brings together a 1920’s film still, a Goya painting of two cats fighting and the pedigree of cartoon cats from anime to silent film. The result is a tense image that traces a lineage of cat pictures in a bold and graphic painting.
In fact cats feature prominently in Painting for a Room. Little surprise then that Stojkovich is a connoisseur of cats in historical painting. While touring the museums of Western Europe he was struck by their immediacy and contemporaneity. In Stojkovich’s paintings cats play, sleep and creep just as they do in Velazquez’s Baroque Spain or Bonnard’s Nineteenth-Century Paris. Often in Bonnard paintings cats seem aware of the viewer with a kind of prescience that human figures do not. So too in Stojkovich’s work, where cats hint at a presence beyond the frame.
In other works Stojkovich presents fantastic spaces to which subjects only provisionally belong. The feet that appear in the painting Silver Shoes at once levitate and press down upon a morass of abstractly rich peach linoleum flooring. The figurative subject and painterly background occupy two dimensions – deeply connected yet remaining separate; constructing a finely balanced, knowing and sweet image that visions it’s own kind of magic realism.
Remaining legible as representational images while balancing abstractions, Stojkovich’s new paintings that feature in Painting for a Room evoke nostalgia, the uncanny and the quintessentially domestic and form novel painterly events that seamlessly merge historical references with uniquely contemporary outlooks.
Adrian Stojkovich is a Melbourne based artist. He completed his Masters of Fine Art at VCA in 2013, and has exhibited regularly since 2008. Stojkovich’s work is held in various private collections. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Fiona Myer Award.