Kevin Stuart: Painting People

Kevin Stuart: Painting People

I feel that how I describe what I’m going for in my paintings has shrunk. Life is dynamic, life is poetic, life is often a swing from paralyzing beauty to debilitating pain. I often find myself in public space feeling things and noticing things about people, each thing noticed and seen the beginning of a mystery; a realization of my own point of view and someone else’s at the same moment. The face we walk around with in public when we feel invisible is a face that puts on a show for no one. It reacts and shows its back story. It is one of the most honest faces we make. It is a face that is about to change.

Kevin Stuart, Koala Bear Caretaker (pedestrians at evening), oil on panel, 6 x 7.5
Kevin Stuart, Koala Bear Caretaker (pedestrians at evening), oil on panel, 6″ x 7.5″

When I’m painting my paintings (which tend to be larger than my body) I feel as if I’m thinking about these faces and people; their potential, how they look when they laugh or smile. On the train as I sketch these people I am always amazed when the face in front of me changes, catches a glimpse of something, smiles after receiving a text from someone who can’t see them smile back, thumbs through a phone bored, or stoically works through some inner turmoil. I feel as if I paint the most impossible thing to understand: someone else.

Kevin Stuart, Tree climber (Commuters on an elevated platform), oil on panel, 5 x 8
Kevin Stuart, Tree climber (Commuters on an elevated platform), oil on panel, 5 x 8

I try to show a life outside the painting; I try to make the figures more than figures in space but people with lives, beautiful poetic lives. The scenes created often don’t quite add up because I don’t want them to, I want them to leave someone wondering what that person is doing or what that person’s life is like, because the people around us are exciting and I still don’t know quite what it is they do.

Kevin has two paintings in our Small Works exhibition. Stop by the gallery to see his expressive and mysterious paintings in person.

Check out our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio by woodworker, Mark Zeh.

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One Response

  1. This is really what SAIC produces now? So dissapointing. His statement could have been written by a high schooler. These paintings have no real comment on both the art world or the world around us. No brilliant realizations about humanity or even an idea that varies from the norm. I expected more from the “best school in the US”

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