“Attack” collides the Japanese ink drawing technique with a contradictory subject. Converging a 1950’s Sci-Fi B-grade narrative with my abhorrence of antiquated oil technologies, the aggressive attack of my mark-making upon paper reflects the violent colonisation of the oil industry upon Earth.
My image making has been consistently influenced by boyhood fantasies informed by pop culture revelling in images of a high-tech future: we were promised a very different world to the one we have inherited. At the centre of this glittering utopia was the car. The Sci-Fi theme is a meme from my childhood returning to vanquish Earth: outer-space squid attack an oil guzzling car in an empty landscape punctuated by electric power pole “trees”.
With the introduction of ‘Tesla’ battery technology, global cooperation on climate change and the Rockefeller family divesting 50 billion dollars from their oil businesses, it seems that we may be emerging from this old polluting dystopia.
Re-processed and collaged from old archival images this digital composite plays with notions of nostalgia.
The man in the cart is also like a harbinger of something either good or bad.
This was my first ‘winged-person picture ‘. Of course wings when sprouting from peoples’ backs translates as other-worldliness , good or bad, and this guy fits the bill – he is a premonition of death. The remnant rainforest trees in the background are what upsets me the most -and this guy in the cart, wearing his Sunday best, is all about the clearing of so much of our coastal ecosystems by a bygone era of hardworking farmers. The wings are actually flying ant wings. Flying ants appear when its about to rain.So the title Rainmaker is ironic because without our rainforest ecosystems the rain doesn’t come…
Stephen Fearnley studied for his Diploma in Fine Arts at Alexander Mackie CAE, finishing in 1982.
With his class mate Stephen Harrop he began putting pictures to “pre-existing sound” such as old radio plays and in this way producing short films using Super 8.
One of the major works produced at this point was their Down Diablo Way(1982).
He showed Super 8 works in the 2nd and 3rd Super 8 Film Festivals (1981 & 1982, respectively). Theses were All for that Wondrous Point in Time(1981) and Down Diablo Way (1982).
He was a member of the Super 8 Film Group and later joined together with Michael Hutak, Stephen Harrop, Andrew Frost, Mark Titmarsh and others to work under the name Metaphysical TV.
Together with Stephen Harrop and Andrew Traucki he wrote, produced and directed Rocky Star (1991-92), a sci fi series for TV that was shown on the BBC and SBS in Australia.
It won a Golden and Silver Hugo at the Chicago international film festival.
Since then he has had a multi-faceted arts career, holding numerous positions in the arts industry including work as an art consultant, film producer and director, composer and performer as well as an exhibiting artist.
Fearnley has held numerous group exhibitions including Light and Plane at the King Street Studios in 1987 and Pieces of Eight: Photographs and Paintings at the Bondi Pavilion in 1990.
During the later 1980s and the 1990s he traveled extensively in Asia and Europe.
From 1995 –2013 with Celeste Coucke , Stephen has produced and illustrated the Sydney Morning Herald Cole Classic rough water swim trophies . In 1998 he illustrated Bryce Courtenay’s book “ the Night Country.“
In the early 2000’s he won a federal training award for implementing art-based courses and produced the band Juicy Mountain in collaboration with Felipe Rodriquez from IF media [Inside Film magazine].
He currently works from his home Cloud Farm Studios in the Southern Highlands, NSW, where he makes pictures and music ; teaches digital media and sound design for film and recently won the Goulburn Regional Art Award in 2012and highly commended prizeMandorla Art Award 2014for his large digital photo images.
In 2016 Stephen completed with partner Celeste Coucke the Lives on the Line project. On Sunday 24 April, Transport Heritage NSW and Sydney Trains unveiled a new commemorative artwork installation at the Trainworks Railway Museum to remember the 8,447 NSW railwaymen who enlisted in the AIF during World War 1 (represented in the artwork by a handmade stoneware object, created by thousands of members of the public using press moulds )This video details the project’s background through to completionas well as this blog link by Celeste Coucke.