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Maitland, NSW, Maitland ,NSW
Artist Dion Archibald was born in January 1976 in Maitland, New South Wales. Despite being born into a family with no connection to the visual arts, Archibald was engaged in art-making from an early age. He remembers drawing a lot as a child, until the age of fifteen when he 'discovered’ oil paints, a medium with which he continued to work. At the age of eighteen, Archibald began working full-time as an artist. Two years later, in 1996, he began his tertiary education, first studying for a Diploma in Fine Arts at the TAFE Hunter Institute in Newcastle, then attending the University of Newcastle (1998), where he studied Visual Arts for two years. During his time at TAFE, he was influenced by his teacher Michael Bell, a local artist, who inspired him to secure a studio space and practice art professionally. Archibald claimed that Bell, “... helped me to understand that to be an artist, you have to make sacrifices, be very disciplined and most importantly, have fun with art!” (Archibald in Percy 2003, p 24). Archibald has been inspired by artists as varied as Anselm Kiefer, Alberto Giacometti, Paul Cezanne, Brett Whiteley, Jean Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso and Egon Schiele, whose works he came to know primarily through publications. He finds just about everything he encounters in the world around him to be some form of inspiration – even basic objects, as seen in his Around Home series (1999-2000). He explains: “Regardless of whether the subject is something as mundane as a toothbrush or as awe inspiring as the beauty of nature, it has to speak to me in some way. I have to feel empathy towards the subject and a desire to form a relationship with it…” (Archibald 2009, pers. comm.). Working on twenty or more paintings at the one time, Archibald follows a set process with each work. Beginning with rough sketches, the subject matter is refined incrementally to resolve composition and form, light and shade, a focused palette, texture, clear delineation and finally highlights. His cityscape repertoire includes the Turkish series (2001-02), the Newcastle series (2002-03) and the Sydney series (2005). Archibald insists that his primary interest is not in accurate depiction so much as in underlying ideas concerning urban densities. Occasionally, Archibald also does self-portraits. Incorporated into his expressive figurative art are his experiences and thoughts on issues including food consumption, war and the destruction of the planet. He explains that “Every painting has a piece of me in it. I’m into feelings and emotions… I see my paintings as a diary of feelings…” (Archibald 2009, pers. comm.). Distinctive traits of his personal style include: thick brush strokes, stark blocks of colour bound by a strong linear quality, tonal contrasts, both a build up of layers and a linear sgraffito-like treatment of the surface. In 2004 Archibald had a solo exhibition at the Newcastle Art Space. In the same year, he received the Still Life award, and was Highly Commended for the Overall category, in the Weston Art Show in Maitland. In 2005 he exhibited in the group exhibition 'In Alexander’s Footsteps’ with Vlado Krstevski, Jeremy Kang and Sophie Munn at Studio 48, Newcastle. In 2007 Archibald briefly worked full-time in an internet business. By 2009 he was working part-time in the same business, once again making his art practice his primary focus. His works are in private collections in Turkey, the USA, Australia, Europe and Asia. Writers: Bashir, Rezwana Date written: 2009 Last updated: 2011
b. 1976
Dion Archibald is a contemporary figurative painter based in Maitland, NSW. In 2004 Archibald received the Still Life award, and was Highly Commended for the Overall category, in the Weston Art Show in Maitland.
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