The paintings in Initial Dream are process-based, beginning with reflex mark-making, layering and successive revision. For Stephen Giblett, this identifies forms that resonate with his own visual syntax. Many of Giblett’s initial marks remain as a scaffold for the finished image and are as important as the final work itself. Because Giblett’s paintings are not preconceived, the subconscious ‘first mark’ can be considered as a catalyst for his final image – ethereal, seemingly back-lit paintings that are sometimes reminiscent of kaleidoscopic stained glass windows.
This work has also relied heavily on the experience of interruption and works were not painted in a continuous stream of thought. Returning to the concept of the stained glass window and motifs of religious ceremony, Giblett explains that these paintings served as an alter: a place to anchor himself in the here and now, in intermittent moments between work, life and being a new father. A departure from Giblett’s previous body of work, where precision demanded that paintings couldn’t be left to dry until they were complete, his latest exhibition is less strict. In Gibletts words, “something more human to look at.” Working sometimes across four paintings a night, this fragmented process came together in an instinctive and meditative way. What manifests itself upon the canvas is the incommunicable feelings surrounding interrupted timelines.
Initial Dream weaves through fragments of post-pandemic landscapes: systems under stress (production, environmental), conspiracy theories, language, and a fascination with the early dreams of his young child – what do these first dreams look and sound like without words or visual comprehension? Guided by his process-based practice and reflexive mark-making, Stephen Giblett captures the abstract and sometimes surreal elements of the everyday – against and with which, we continue.
Stephen Giblett is a Melbourne based artist who has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, including a major solo exhibition at the Gippsland Art Gallery in 2012. In 2013 he was a finalist in the 2013 Gold Coast Art Prize, and in 2010 was a finalist in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize.