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by Mac Stewart

Mac on the Move by Theresa Rice
Mac Stewart plunged headlong into art at sixteen. He had to—no other way forward made sense to him. That decision streamlined his life. Now he paints every day. It’s what he loves to do. He labors incessantly to improve his technique and his style, his grasp of a vision for himself. He is a dark-eyed and intense windmill of creativity, with colorfully paint-stained hands and hundreds of paintings in his portfolio. Mac is one to watch. He’s the real deal.

His art is already in corporate collections and he was a guest artist at Atlanta’s 2014 Living Walls Conference in August and completed a 20’ x 100’ mural, located downtown at 156 Forsyth Street. Mac leaps from strength to strength on his swiftly morphing path. He is steadily finding his way, as generations of painters have always done, by studying the greats who came before. Instead of Leonardo or Rembrandt, though, his main guides are Twentieth Century giants such as Picasso and Warhol. He idolizes street artists who took the 80’s and 90’s gallery scene by storm, like the iconic Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol’s protégé, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

He wants his art to reflect its time, the same way Leonardo’s or Picasso’s or Haring’s did and he is willing to take risks with his painting and in his life to make it happen. It’s easy to see a synthesis of his heroes’ influence but Mac constantly strives to exert his own personality, constantly experimenting fiercely. He’s also willing to put in the studio time. His atelier, home to Mac Stewart Artworks, is a windowless warren of well lit rooms. Paintings are stacked against walls by size or sprawl across the floor where he has tossed them with enthusiastic nonchalance. He spends a lot of time in this place that holds completed output, cradles work in process and awaits future production.

One current theme, the Minotaur series, tips a hat in Picasso’s direction, but reflects his own interpretation of a classical subject. He is trying out advice from Keith Haring and leaving white space around his lines so they almost vibrate with energy.

Mac’s methods juxtapose a traditional studio approach with street punk paraphernalia. He uses oil based paint, the classical material popular since early 15th century, to state his major lines. Acrylics, the twentieth century’s speedy-quick contribution to the modern palette, create his ground and lesser lines. Then he strides onto street turf with spray paints to achieve depth and shading effects that mark his hybrid approach. He sets down his heaviest patterns first and gradually drills down into finer and finer filigrees of rhythmic detail. The emerging paintings throb with vitality. They are patterns pulsing with motion, held static on canvas.

His work shows how deeply invested he is in exploring his current themes. But Mac is questing. In the relatively brief time he's been painting, his style has shifted to include his changing interests and influences. He propels himself toward his future. He lets his vision self define, lets it light the way into the as-yet unknown region of his upcoming maturity. He is gifted at his current age, advanced from who he was at seventeen. But make no mistake. Mac Stewart is not static. He is steadily maturing into the painter he'll be at thirty, then fifty, then eighty. He is propelled by passion on a trajectory of exploration toward a goal of mastery. On the move.

Collect Mac Stewart's art at Gallery 446 here.



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