Installation view of Esther Stewart’s work <em>The space has been created for something to happen; 1:2</em> 2019 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Tom Ross

Esther Stewart

Esther Stewart
(b. 1988, Katherine, Northern Territory. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Esther Stewart creates paintings and installations that both harness and challenge the visual languages of architecture, design and geometry. Her art practice explores ways of re-imagining, collapsing and expanding spaces through painting and architecture while also examining historical influences and sociopolitical contexts.

The space has been created for something to happen; 1:2, 2019, is a 1:2 scaled model of the artist’s own home. Developed as part of an ongoing project that looks at fictional and non-fictional architectures, this large-scale installation recontextualises a personal, domestic space within the gallery environment. Suspended in mid-air, windows and doors frame sightlines of the work, manipulating the scale and materiality of its architectural source material. At the same time, distinctions between interior and exterior collapse and are redefined in their new environment. The space has been created for something to happen was originally commissioned for, and presented as part of, the inaugural exhibition at the new Lyon Housemuseum Galleries, and was shown at Gertrude Glasshouse in early 2019.

Stewart was the winner of the Sir John Sulman Prize in 2016. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at galleries and institutions, including Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Mornington; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, Goulburn; Ballarat Art Gallery, Ballarat; Vebikus Kunsthalle Schaffhausen, Switzerland; and Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. In 2015, Italian designer Valentino collaborated with Stewart for the label’s autumn–winter 2015–16 menswear collection. She is currently studying a Master of Architecture at Melbourne School of Design, the University of Melbourne.