Post Emergence Plight, oil on wood panel, 44″ x 64″
Steven Chmilar’s paintings are the result of an earnest practice and unbound invention. Inspired by the finished look and detailed brush work of 18th-Century European paintings, he references life models and sets them into carefully planned original narratives. Beauty, calamity, sorrow and humour weave together into a style that is both universal and deeply personal. Each painting begins with dozens of sketches, followed by the construction of small-scale scenes made out of wood, paper, clay and miscellaneous detritus. Chmilar then photographs the tiny set, like a high-budget film set in miniature to use as a reference, before re-drawing the composition onto a wood panel and beginning the multi-layer classical atelier painting process. To get through such a demanding workload, he taught himself to paint with both hands to relieve the strain of long studio sessions.
“I need my compositions to pull you in from a distance, so that you will see even more once you are very close.”