Stewart was born in Adelaide, 1952, where he developed a love for art at school. On
leaving school he committed to practice enthusiastically; he travelled throughout
Australia, Asia and Europe and, although largely self taught, completed several
painting courses on returning home.
His main practice has been painting in oils, although he has extended his skills to
include sculpture and installation. During his development years, Stewart was greatly
influenced by Fred Williams and John Olsen, among others. In latter years his
influences have included the art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Austrian artist and
architect, and the intimate relationship that Indigenous Australians have with their
Westle says, “My aim as a artist and landscape painter is to express what being in
the bush means to me. My paintings speak of the precious moments when we take
time out to communicate with nature. The time we sit on the headlands and dream
about the future and reflect on the past, the times we walk along the lonely track and
wonder about the complexity of it all. The times we share friendship and just marvel
at the beauty of it all. It’s a wonderful world we live in, I strive for my paintings to
reflect some of that wonder.”
Westle’s love and enchantment for the Australian landscape and seascape is evident
in the colour, freedom of application and raw energy emanating from his paintings,
through which he has evolved a distinctive language for his landscapes. He believes
that his best paintings are executed in a near meditative state.
”My paintings speak of the precious moments when we
take time out to communicate with nature.”
Stewart uses his art to enhance his own sense of belonging. He currently lives in
Red Hill, a small town on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, where Family and
Community Involvement are integral to his daily life.
In recent years, Stewart has ventured into the world of sculpture, experimenting with
the use of locally sourced Red Gum, Driftwood and Glass. After starting with smaller
projects, Stewart began to make temporary large-scale artworks on the beaches up
and down the East Coast of Australia. These were momentary pieces of work made
from found beach jetsam that were washed away once the tide came in.
Recently Stewart was profiled at Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition with ‘S.O.S’; a
new form artwork involving burnt logs from his property, arranged in Morse code.
As Stewart’s art practice matures, his fascination with the shapes, textures and
colours of the natural world seems to be intensifying, translating into an ever-evolving
2016 / 2017 Sculpture selected for Montalto Sculpture Prize
2016 Sculpture selected for Yerring Station sculpture prize
2011/13 Paintbox, Canberra
2005 /2011 /2013 / 2015 Manyung Gallery, Mount Eliza
2004/06/07/09/12 TVH Gallery, Sydney
2003/06/07/08/09/11/13/15/16 Without Pier Gallery, Melbourne
2000/07 Art Images Gallery, Adelaide
1995 Valerie Cohen Fine Art, Sydney
1993 Graphics Fine Art, Sydney
1992/97/99/01 First Settlement Gallery, Melbourne
1990/91/93/94/96/98 Libby Edwards Gallery, Melbourne
1989/92 Melaleuca Gallery, Melbourne
1989 Reflections Gallery, Melbourne
1988/89 Casey Gallery, Sydney
1987 Noels Gallery, Melbourne
"I was sitting on the waters edge at Mallacoota wondering why my paintings end up so busy. You see, so much painting is reduced to the bones these days and then it occurred to me, life is busy, nature is busy.
There were lizards sunning, ants working, lizards chasing ants, birds resting, birds feeding. Boats motoring, sailing and anchored, and leaves rustling gently in the wind. Men, women and children, fishing and hoping.
All this was what I saw, but what I didn't see, was much more.
It also occurred to me that we all depend on each other like the bird on the insect, the lizard on the ant, the boat on the water and with man presiding over it all.
Perhaps my paintings are a bit similar. The blue line depends on the red circle, which depends on the white dot and so on. When the harmony works and I express my joy for the life in the natural landscape I have created my dream."