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David C. Stewart Type: Oil on linen
Dimensions: 10 x 8 inches
Frame Dimensions: 17 x 14.5 inches
Signature: signed lower left
Portrait of Artist

About the Artist

“Art, like life, is an ever changing process: I change through every painting, and every painting becomes my internal process.” This is how David C. Stewart defines his creativity. His works belong into the realm of Classical Realism with occasional transgressions into Modernism. They are characterized by subtle imagery which the artist energizes through his accomplished handling of chiaroscuro techniques. Stewart may reach as far back and beyond the Ming Dynasty and into the early Dutch and Flemish Schools to lend an intriguing “deja-vu” quality to his work.

A native of North Carolina, the United States, Stewart’s first keen sense of art came through drawing classes that he attended as a child. “At this early age, I began to tap into the vein of classical drawing and painting which was to set the foundation for a life of art later.” Stewart received a degree in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Tennessee in 1974. A number of years of study at New York’s Art Students League followed, beginning in 1978. His teachers included such notables as Robert Beverly Hale, Robert Phillips, Robert Maione, Gustav Rehberger, and David Leffel. Human anatomy and classical drawing were mentored by Hale; form, chiaroscuro, and the open and limitless sense of inner self exploration through Maione and Leffel. In 1985, Stewart left New York following numerous and successful competitions and exhibitions in the city in order to spend time on the New Mexico ranch of well-known painter R. Brownell McGrew who, with his wife Ann, spurred and supported Stewart’s achievements. “McGrew was an important mentor for me and deepened my desire for classical painting and living life in that vein.”

Travel has been instrumental to David C. Stewart’s development as a person and painter. He spent time studying at the Louvre, London’s National Gallery, and the major museums in the Netherlands and Italy. A few of the great painters who continue to influence Stewart are Velasquez, Rembrandt, Chardin, American painters Emil Carlsen and George Inness and American-Armenian painter Housep Pushman as well as the modern day Italian Master, Pietro Annigoni. In the works of Annagoni, Stewart encountered ancient presences appropriately filtered through the artist’s reworking of them in a modern and symbolic key. Throughout the years, Stewart has continued to seek heightened understanding through on-site exploration of highly diverse cultures, encompassing Native American, Mayan, Inca, Pre-Columbian, Egyptian, Greek, Nepalese, Tibetan, Chinese, Celtic, and Hawaiian traditions.

The artist lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico for many years, a place he feels was essential to his formulation of artistic and spiritual pursuits. Following his time in Northern New Mexico, Stewart moved to Asheville, North Carolina along with his partner, David Frechter, which proved to be a gentle and nurturing environment for them. Both locations speak deeply, yet, differently to Stewart as he reaches out for new dimensions. This certainly was magnified by his move to the 11th Century hill town of Cetona in Southern Tuscany, Italy 10 years later. There Stewart reached deep into the beauty, light, landscape, culture, and the arts of which makes up the great Italian heritage. Four years later, Stewart returned to Asheville, North Carolina where he continues to paint in his studio in the River Arts District. His compositions often combine familiarity with a Zen-like surprise, resulting in a masterful statement of harmony and meaning with added symbolism. Infused with Eastern inspiration, Stewart’s paintings convey a deep sense of contemplative intimacy and quiet. “Light becomes the tool by which I direct the eye to the significant.” says Stewart.

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