126 episodes

Maria Stoljar talks with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their painting techniques, influences and current work.

Talking with Painters Maria Stoljar

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 37 Ratings

Maria Stoljar talks with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their painting techniques, influences and current work.

    Ep 126: Del Kathryn Barton – ‘the women who fell to earth’

    Ep 126: Del Kathryn Barton – ‘the women who fell to earth’

    One of Australia’s most significant artists returns to the podcast! Del Kathryn Barton spoke with me the day before the opening of her spectacular exhibition ‘the women who fell to earth’ at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, showing until 28 May 2022.

    Internationally renowned, Del is well known in Australia for having won the country's most famous art prize twice - the Archibald Prize - and her works are held in many private collections and public institutions. This year the National Gallery of Australia acquired her largest single-panel work she has made to date, 'my heart is blazing 11 hours', and we talk about the work in this episode.

    Although difficult to describe in words, Del's work often depicts a female sensuality which is at the same time beautiful and confrontational - set in an intricately detailed imaginary world. She is also a self-described optimist and the work hanging in this exhibition is a testament to that, with vivid colour bursting from the canvas.

    We also discuss other art forms she has recently been engaged in, including a major project she has been developing over the last 4 years which has now come to fruition. Del's first feature film 'Blaze', a very personal work which she directed and co-wrote, is debuting at the Tribeca Film festival in June and it's one of only 10 films selected in the International Narrative competition. It has also been selected for Official Competition in the upcoming Sydney film festival, again one of only ten films selected internationally.

    You'll also hear about the origins of her arresting timber sculptures included in the exhibition. Large shell forms inlaid with exquisite materials which reference very personal themes.

    To hear the conversation press 'play' beneath the above feature photo. You can hear the previous 2019 podcast interview where Del talks about her life and art here.

    A short video of highlights of this conversation will be uploaded to the Talking With Painters YouTube channel in the coming weeks. 

    Current exhibition

    * 'the women who fell to earth' at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 6 May to 28 May 2022* 'Blaze at the Tribeca Film Festival on 9, 10 and 17 June 2022* 'Blaze' at the Sydney Film Festival, 17, 18 and 19 June 2022

    Links to things we talk about on the show

    * Del Kathryn Barton on Instagram* Del Kathryn Barton at Roslyn Oxley 9* Del Kathryn Barton at Albertz Benda * Talking With Painters YouTube channel* 'Blaze' at the Tribeca Film Festival* 'Blaze' at the Sydney Film Festival

    the women who have gathered for the earth, 2021-22acrylic on linen203 x 353 cmSource: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery website

    the women who came from the earth, 2022acrylic on linen203 x 303 cm

    her earth nature, 2022acrylic on linen243 x 203 cmSource: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery website

    • 40 min
    Ep 125: Steve Lopes -‘Encountered’

    Ep 125: Steve Lopes -‘Encountered’

    It's not often that an artist gets to see almost a quarter of a century of their work in one space but in this episode Steve Lopes tells me what that feels like.

    The impressive survey exhibition 'Encountered', curated by Kon Gouriotis and now showing at the S.H.Ervin Gallery in Sydney, brings together 120 of Steve Lopes' works including over 80 paintings and drawings, sketchbooks, prints and collages.

    This is a must-see exhibition especially for those interested in figurative painting.

    In my previous interview with Steve, he expressed the view that to be successful, a painting requires a gritty element - a bit of 'poison'. When I visited the exhibition a couple of weeks ago, though, it wasn't only that grittiness that struck me but also the humanity evident in the works, not only in the figures but also in the environments they inhabit.

    Desolate wartime landscapes hinting at the loss of human life, a dog wandering across a suburban backlot, figures enigmatically positioned on a coastal landscape; these scenes exude an air of melancholy but often also a familiarity.

    Steve has exhibited in close to 40 solo shows across Australia and in London and Hong Kong. He has won the Gallipoli Art Prize, the Kings School Art Prize and has been shortlisted in many others. His work is held in the National Gallery of Australia, the Parliament House Collection, the State Library of NSW and many other public and private collections.

    We met at the S.H.Ervin gallery as the exhibition was being installed and we talked about a selection of works (pictured below), the story behind them as well as insights into his practice.

    The show continues at the S.H.Ervin Gallery until 8 May 2022 and will then travel to Orange Regional Gallery where it will run from 21 May.

    To hear the podcast episode click 'play' beneath the above feature photo.

    Time stamps for each painting

    * 3:30 Trench Life* 8:25 Aurora Track* 12:45 Creek Bed Study* 16:00 Uncommon Figures* 27:15 Warren Ellis etching and painting* 29:49 Railway Club

    Exhibition details

    * Survey exhibition 'Encountered', S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 26 March to 8 May 2022, then touring to:* Survey exhibition 'Encountered', Orange Regional Gallery, 21 May to 17 July 2022


    * Steve Lopes website* Lopes at Stella Downer Fine Art* Lopes at Mitchell Fine Art* Lopes at Queenscliff Gallery* Lopes at Penny Contemporary * Talking with Painters 2019 interview with Steve Lopes * Guy Warren * Euan Macleod* Luke Sciberras* a href="https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/168.2021/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PR%20AGNSW%20acquires%20Spanish%20Baroque%20masterpiece...

    • 36 min
    Ep 124: Marikit Santiago

    Ep 124: Marikit Santiago

    Marikit Santiago is one of Australia's most impressive artists, combining a skilful representational painting technique with powerful imagery.

    Mythology, Disney, her Filipino heritage, religion, guilt, motherhood and family are examples of the subject matter she draws from and her upcoming show, 'For us sinners' at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, is set to contain some of the most impactful work she has produced to date.

    What's equally striking is the contrast between her painting style and the surface on which she often chooses to paint: found cardboard, typically in the form of flattened packing boxes complete with rips, creases and packing tape!

    Marikit won the Art Gallery of NSW's Sulman prize in 2020 with her work ‘The Divine’, a painting of her three children who were also her collaborators. We talk in this episode about how they contribute to her practice and why that collaboration is so important to her work.

    Apart from winning the Sulman, Marikit has been a finalist in many other prizes including the Archibald prize twice.  She has exhibited in 6 solo shows and her upcoming exhibition at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is her first institutional show. It is curated by Micheal Do and opens on 26 March 2022.

    We recorded this conversation in Marikit's garage studio with her stunning recent work, Thy Kingdom Come, leaning precariously against the easel. Rich with cultural and religious symbolism, as well as quite a few cartoon characters, the complex painting had been finished the day before our interview, after nine months' work.

    To hear the podcast episode click 'play' beneath the above feature photo.

    Scroll down for a short video of Marikit in her studio from the Talking with Painters YouTube channel .

    Current and upcoming exhibition

    * Solo exhibition 'For us sinners', 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 26 March to 15 May 2022 * Archibald Prize 2021, currently showing at Cowra Regional Art Gallery, NSW, until 1 May 2022


    * Marikit Santiago* Marikit Santiago on Instagram * Egon Schiele* Rodel Tapaya* Jojit Solano* Balikbayan Box* Aida Tomescu video


    Thy Kingdom Come, 2021 – 2022, interior paint, acrylic, oil, pyrography, pen, gold leaf on found cardboard (pen and paint markings by Santi Mateo Santiago and Sarita Santiago), collaboration with Maella Santiago, 167cm x 307cm. Courtesy of the artist and The Something Machine, Bellport, New York. Photo credit: Garry Trinh

    Tagsibol/tagsabong, 2019, acrylic, oil, pyrography, pen and paint on found cardboard144.5 x 214 cmFinalist, Sulman Prize, 2019, Art Gallery of NSW

    Filipiniana (self-portrait in collaboration with Maella Santiago Pearl), acrylic, interior paint, pen and oil on found cardboard110.5 x 100.

    • 58 min
    Ep 123: Summer Series – Tom Carment

    Ep 123: Summer Series – Tom Carment

    I interviewed the acclaimed artist Tom Carment for the podcast in 2019 and this episode is the extended audio recording from video I filmed in his studio.

    A lot was going on creatively for Tom at the time. It was at about the same time as his book ‘Womerah Lane: Lives and Landscapes’ was released and his solo show at King Street gallery in Sydney was about to open.

    As soon as I arrived at his Womerah Lane terrace I saw that it was overtaken by preparations for that show. Once Tom has created his work he then makes their frames from beautiful Tasmanian blackwood and the frames were in various states of completion throughout the dining area and the studio.

    By coincidence, I’m publishing this episode as Tom is going through the very same process in the lead up to his next show with King Street Gallery which opens on 22 March 2022. It's taken over two months to make the frames. They are works of art in themselves with each corner joined with wooden keys and he thinks carefully about which work would best suit the timber of each unique frame.

    When I spoke with Tom he had been living in Adelaide where he and his wife Jan had pared back their belongings and rented a one-bedroom worker's cottage where they had only intended to stay for a year. But since then Covid took hold and his upcoming show is called ‘Two years in South Australia’.

    It's a beautiful body of work and what struck me in particular was a series of exquisite works of the lighthouse on Corny Point, Yorke peninsula, where he camped for several weeks and which he observed and painted at different times of the day.

    Tom has won numerous art prizes (including the Gallipoli, Mosman and NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize) and has been shortlisted countless times in others including the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes and the Salon des Refuses. He has exhibited in over 25 solo shows and his work is held in public and private collections internationally. ‘Womerah Lane’, the latest of several books he has written, was shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s literary awards last year.

    You can see the edited video version of this recording on my YouTube channel here and listen to the previous podcast episode (ep 78) where Tom talks with me about his life and how he became an artist here.

    To hear this podcast episode click on 'play' beneath the above photo.

    Upcoming show

    * Solo show 'Two years in South Australia' at King Street Gallery, Sydney, 22 March to xx April 2022


    * Tom Carment website* Tom Carment at King Street Gallery * 'Womerah Lane: Lives and Landscapes'* YouTube Video of Tom Carment edited from this recording


    'Corny Point Lighthouse II', oil on marine ply, 16 x 21cm

    'Yellowtail Mackeral on Robert's plate', oil on linen, 30.5 x 38cm

    'Plane Tree, Mount Lofty, winter morning', oil on marine ply, 30.5 x 38cm

    'Returning surfer, Berry Bay', oil on linen, 25 x 30cm

    'Sugar Bananas', oil on linen, 25 x 30cm

    • 15 min
    Ep 122: Summer Series – Nicole Kelly

    Ep 122: Summer Series – Nicole Kelly

    This is the second episode of my summer series where I’m bringing you longer conversations with past podcast guests, from recordings when taking video of the artists for the Talking with Painters YouTube channel.

    The video of this episode's fabulous artist, Nicole Kelly, is the second most watched on the channel, which currently has over 150 videos*.

    Nicole Kelly is an acclaimed Sydney artist, having won multiple art prizes, and you can find out more about her career and how she became an artist in my original 2019 podcast interview (episode 75).  In this episode she talks about working en plein air, how she sources colour for her work, the importance of making mistakes and lots more.

    Her next solo show ‘Opacity of Time’ with her Melbourne gallery, This Is No Fantasy, opens on 25 February 2022 and I’ve included a selection of the exciting works going into that show below.

    Nicole also has a solo show coming up in August with Arthouse Gallery in Sydney and her work will be included in a curated show ‘Quintet: 5 southern Sydney Artists’ at Hazelhurst Arts Centre in September.

    Its hard to explain what I love about Nicole's work but there’s a kind of mystery and romance to her paintings through her use of colour and mark which draws me in every time.

    To hear this episode press 'play' beneath the above feature photo.

    * The most watched video is the first 'loading dock' video where I interviewed entrants to the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2019. Link to the YouTube channel in links below.

    Upcoming shows

    * Solo show, 'Opacity of Time', This Is No Fantasy, Melbourne, opening 25 February, 2022* Solo show, Arthouse Gallery, Sydney, opening 18 August 2022* Group show 'Quintet: 5 Southern Sydney artists', Hazelhurst Arts Centre, opening 10 September 2022


    * Nicole Kelly (website)* Nicole Kelly (Instagram)* Nicole Kelly at This is No Fantasy* Nicole Kelly at Arthouse Gallery* Video of Nicole Kelly made from the recording in this episode* Talking with Painters YouTube channel* Talking with Painters podcast interview of Nicole Kelly - episode 75*


    'Night walker', 2022oil on polyester, 167 x 198cm

    Double self (Valley between doubt and dream), 2021. Oil on polyester, 138 x 152cmFinalist Portia Geach Memorial Award 2021

    'Last song', 2022135 x 227.5 cm, oil on polyester

    'Poppy and Matisse', 2022oil on polyester, 89 x 73.5 cm

    'To the sky something lost' 2019 oil on polyester 123.5 x 169.5 cm (framed)

    ‘Studio nude (self portrait)’, 2019, oil on polyesterFinalist 2019 Portia Geach Memori...

    • 14 min
    Ep 121: Summer Series – Joshua Yeldham

    Ep 121: Summer Series – Joshua Yeldham

    In podcast episode 101 I spoke with leading Australian artist Joshua Yeldham in the lead-up to his sell-out show ‘Providence’ at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney. I remember being fascinated by his approach to painting and his views on the creative process.

    We also recorded a separate video and this episode is the first of my 2022 Summer Series which is a collection of extended audio recordings from videos I've taken of my podcast guests.

    Joshua's works are extraordinary. His paintings often involve an element of carving into the wooden surface of the work and in some cases he inserts pieces of cane which add a further dimension to the work. But it's the physical method of doing that work which enhances his creative process and you'll hear him explain this and many other aspects of his practice in this episode.

    If you're in Sydney you can see several stunning Yeldham works in Arthouse Gallery's Summer group show which also includes work of podcast guests Colin Pennock, Susan Baird, Nicole Kelly, Jo Bertini, Michaye Boulter and Belinda Fox as well as many other skilled artists. The exhibition continues until 29 January 2022.

    See below for a short video version of this episode filmed in Joshua's Sydney studio.



    * Joshua Yeldham (website)* Joshua Yeldham at Arthouse Gallery* Talking with Painters interview, Episode 101* My video walk through of Joshua Yeldham's exhibition 'Providence' at Arthouse Gallery in 2020 * Episode 101 YouTube video

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

Barbara Anne Thomas ,

Inspiring and Informative Podcast

This podcast has had a profound impact on my life as a US artist. I did not know much about AU art and artists before listening, and I’ve learned new techniques and developed healthy habits from this podcast. Thank you so much for your time in doing this, Maria!

Mia Risberg ,

Wonderful podcast

I am an artist based in the U.S. who really enjoys listening to this podcast! Through it I have come to discover many talented Australian artists, that I did not know about before.The episodes are insightful, interesting, and explore both the technical aspect of the work as well as the personal life of the artists. It is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while I walk my dog in the woods every morning. And Maria has a lovely sunny voice. She sounds as if she is smiling the whole time she speaks....I think she may be because it's clear that she loves the arts and conducting her interviews.

Decorno ,

Excellent. You won’t be disappointed.

This podcast is SO GOOD that even if you don’t paint there are extraordinary things to learn about creativity, human potential, curiosity, and forging ahead on your own path. Maria, the host, is astonishingly good at her job. She asks the right questions and then gets out of the way, allowing painters to go down windy roads to make unusual points. Best episodes to start with are: Ep 29, James Drinkwater (fascinating insights on his formal training since childhood, but current life painting wild abstractions). Ep 32, Vanessa Stockard (refreshing candor about dealing with anxiety and a “false start” early on at school and how she found her way, and also on parenthood and maintaining an artistic practice; she’s also really funny), and Ep 31 Jonathan Dalton. And Ep 38 William Mackinnon; this was the first episode where I wish I had taken notes. He’s incredibly thoughtful about art and process and has fascinating things to say. Talking with Painters is a treasure for anyone who wants to understand how artists think and work. Maria Stoljar is a treasure.

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