30 March - 1 May
The landscapes and figures that populate STEVE LOPES’ works are often laden with an evocative psychological tension. His paintings do not shy away from uneasy emotional states and the vulnerability of humanity subject to a world of worries and the discomfort of trying circumstances. This narrative appeal of LOPES’ work is particularly pertinent to current tumultuous times. However, LOPES steers the tone of this recent body of work into a different frame of mind. San Souci – which in French mean no worries or free of care – offers up a set of intriguing paintings and drawings with collage in which his subjects appear carefree and oblivious to any woes of the world.
The subjects of LOPES’ work is rendered compelling and mysterious, skirting the boundaries of imagined and real. Each figure within these paintings appear unique with recognisable characteristics – while also enveloped in anonymity and a dreamlike quality. The people look relaxed and are solitary; somewhat introspective, calm and contemplative. Some share a quiet glance with the viewer that is gentle and knowing. They seem oblivious to the worries of the world around them and untethered to their surroundings – but perhaps there are not-so-obvious narratives at play. Some of the figures in these paintings appear in sharper focus as the world around them dissolves into a flurry of impressionistic brush strokes, free forms and colours. These people are both placed and displaced, floating amidst the discordant disarray of their surroundings. These incongruous qualities all at once impart a sense uncertainty, ease and peace. There is a transporting quality to LOPES’ paintings. They are poetic in their unearthly and unbound qualities, yet they are not particularly romanticised. There is often a subtle, understated or non-descript quality to the figures and their context. Some exist amongst weathered debris and within the terrain of a harsh, wild, dry grass field or a cluttered and derelict urban scene or humble suburban setting. Others are transported to places with captivating vistas and skies with a hint of the sublime.
LOPES’ landscapes stimulate the viewers curiosity in the small glimpses of potential narratives playing out. The landscapes reflect each figures’ inner mood and captures an emotional state. It allows for speculation on the unfolding narrative. In the landscapes absent of figures the viewers take on the perspective of the subjects captured in other works; we see through their eyes. This mantra of San Souci – or no worries – is echoed through the material treatment of LOPES’ work. Collaged elements of the works on paper settle into place with ease. STEVE LOPES welcomes the expression of no worries in this exhibition through his curious and contemplative works.