Farewell to Guy Stuart

The remarkable multidisciplinary artist has passed away.

Words: Erin Irwin

In yet another loss for the Australian art world, it has been announced that Guy Stuart has died, passing away from a heart attack. An early proponent of installation art, the artist was most well known for his sensitive paintings of the Australian landscape.

Stuart enjoyed a markedly successful career from the very beginning – despite being thrown out of RMIT Art school alongside compatriots Robert Jacks and Paul Partos – progressing quickly from his studies under John Brack in Melbourne to achieving the McCaughey Prize at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1961. This was followed by his selection to present at the 10th Sao Paolo Biennale in Brazil in 1969.

The artist initially experimented with installation art, with his mammoth work Continuous Wooden Floor taking over Gallery A’s Toorak Road space in 1970. He then moved on to portraiture, with a solo exhibition held at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in 1982. Stuart eventually became enamoured with the Australian landscape, informed by his time spent in Japan and longstanding interest in Japanese art. Over time his style transformed from abstracted to realist, but the artist always retained a deliberate approach to mark-making and draughtsmanship.

Stuart was a prolific artist with an eye on innovating his practice right up until his death. Charles Nodrum Gallery, who represented the artist, have said that “we have exhibited his work in both solo exhibitions and group shows for nearly 30 years and we have been looking forward to his forthcoming exhibition of previously unexhibited watercolours on paper scheduled for later this month. With agreement from his family – his wife Carol and his brother Stephen – the exhibition will proceed as planned because, we are confident, that is what he would have wanted”. Guy Stuart: Watercolours from the Plan Chest will go on show on 22 June.

This article was posted 11 June 2024.

Image: Guy Stuart and his work Lock Span at the exhibition Lock Span: A Large Project for Aluminium Casting, Gallery A, Melbourne, 28 April – 3 May, 1969. Courtesy: the artist’s estate and Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne.

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