Duncan Stewart’s studio on the west side of town is like many other artist studios. Cozy, and full of all kinds of interesting things. Vintage metal toys line several shelves, paintings and drawings are strewn about the walls, and a stuffed bat dangles from a mirror.
A recent work in progress lies on top of the large desk area. The piece is similar to several other works by Stewart currently on display at Artel Gallery. Black, cut-out drawings look almost sculptural when hung on a wall.
“What’s new about these is that they’re subject-oriented as opposed to being abstract,” Stewart said. “I’ll draw out the collage, and then I’ll actually cut the pieces out.”
Several of these pieces can be viewed at the current exhibition, “Clashes of Culture” at Artel Gallery. The “Clashes of Culture” exhibit displays many contrasting paintings, drawings, prints and several other mediums.
Stewart also has a smaller private show on display inside the gallery. The show is in a private alcove and was offered to Stewart as an opportunity to showcase his work after receiving “Best of Show” in a previous Artel exhibition.
One of the works that Stewart has in the “Clashes of Culture” exhibit depicts the vintage cartoon, Mighty Mouse, in between a representation of Death and the Maiden. While one image is almost immediately recognizable and slightly modern, the other two take a little longer to assess. All the images are black cut outs though, and fall into Stewart’s current theme, and when displayed against a white wall, they have graffiti-esque feel to them.
“The theme has become somewhat reliant on illustrations, some from the 16th century,” Stewart said. “I like taking these older images and putting them back together.”
Stewart has also been interested in older images dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries from an era known as the “Dance of the Death,” which includes some of the “Death and the Maiden”-type imagery similar to what Stewart used for the Artel show.
“Some of the pieces are like stencils, or graffiti-like,” Stewart said. “But with graffiti, you get it right now. It’s instant. I don’t want people to get the graffiti aspect confused with what I’m doing.”
Stewart’s work will be on display at Artel Gallery through July 15. If you’re in the mood for a drive or you happen to be over that way, Stewart’s work will also be on display at a small gallery in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“It’ll be another very small gallery show,” Stewart said. “I’ve got from now until August and I’ll probably work on some new things.”
Aside from constructing new collages and other works, Stewart is currently teaching an online art history class for University of West Florida. He retired in 2004 but couldn’t stay away for too long.
‘CLASHES OF CULTURE’ EXHIBIT
WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through July 15
WHERE: Artel Gallery, 223 S. Palafox