London, United Kingdom
About Stephen Abela
I spent around 6 years in formal education in University and College in Ontario, Canada studying Painting, Drawing, Printmaking and Design. In 2004 I moved to London where I currently live and work. work from 2014 My interest in historical subject matter informs my current work. I like to delve into particular events in history or historical subject that interests me and try to work within it, expanding or elaborating on an event in a way which is not represented in paintings historically. My previous beach scene work (2012-2014) can almost be summed up by a quote from the photographer, Slim Aarons: "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.'' I am drawn to photographs of leisure scenes, like those by Aaron, as well as vintage travel and holiday postcards from the 50s and 60s. I use these kinds of references, alongside my own personal bank of images, to make my paintings. I am attracted to the mix of nostalgia and "˜Luxe, Calme et Volupte' in these depictions of leisure. Here is a place where people are partly naked, relaxed and often unaware of themselves; perhaps more "˜natural' than in other situations. I spent my youth, and many summers following this, on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Some of the images I choose to paint relate back to those times and places; the beaches and pools that I now only vaguely recall. The process of working with an image that has personal appeal because it reminds me of some distant past, appeals to me as much as the beauty of the scene itself, as well as the edited visions from my own memories. I find it difficult to separate nostalgia from the purely aesthetic. In many ways this makes the subject matter I select problematic and challenging for me, as it is a personal iconography wrapped up in a cliched beauty.
BA Honours Fine Art Guelph University 1994
Independent Study Fine Art Concordia University 1990
Art Fundamentals Sheridan College Ontario 1984