Picture: A Trip Beyond Imagination

Released in summer 2020, Lost Lives//Split Personalities heralded the triumphant return of internationally renowned contemporary artist, Stuart McAlpine Miller, who produced the collection after an eighteen month period of research and creative development undertaken at The Gart, his artistic retreat in the Scottish Highlands.

Reflected Glory

Music, for Stuart McAlpine Miller, is second only to art as a mode of artistic expression. A talented musician himself, it is no surprise that he has been deeply inspired by many of the great performers, from the 1970s to present day. Lost Lives is a series of original works that strives to honour the subjects in Stuart’s paintings, by recognising the role they have played in shaping the artist that he is today. Speaking of David Bowie, Stuart says: “His music reminds me of why I’m doing what I am today.”

Music took on a new meaning for Stuart when he adopted the piano as his instrument of choice. Stuart says: “Music has for me, like many others, greatly influenced my own approach to my art, and the potential it creates within. The emotion that music can reveal allows the listener to transport themselves to a time, a place and a feeling. Art can do the same. We just have to open our minds.”

Altered Imagination

It is often the musician’s storytelling, the journey conjured through creating a compelling narrative, that appeals to Stuart. We see a similar trait within his art; multifaceted and rich with detail and meaning, it creates intrigue for the viewer. These paintings invite the onlooker to return multiple times to view the pieces, discovering something new with each glance, much like seeing a favourite band time and again in concert – you won’t see exactly the same performance twice. Commenting: “Talent like this needs to be celebrated…over and over again.” Perhaps this was exactly Stuart’s intention, a prompt to his audience to unravel the multiple layers of each person depicted in Lost Lives.

The mixed media Split Personality originals are a creative progression from the origins of the Lost Lives paintings. Here the intention is to unmask the multiple personas behind the performer. In honouring these musical icons, Stuart intends to reveal that the spotlight often belied a darkness in the otherwise seemingly glittering lifestyles of these stars.

Stuart digitally remasters scans of the original paintings; through changing colours, adding symbolic references and removing elements, an entirely new image evolves. This new original piece becomes the printed base layer, over which Stuart hand-finishes a subsequent kaleidoscopic layer to complete the piece.

This series clearly retains Stuart’s signature style of a pure colourists touch, imbued symbolism and working within layers to build depth and intensity, and yet it is simultaneously a departure from preview collections. This work conveys a new level of complexity that is nonetheless relatable, and instantly wowing.

Having taken eighteen months in research and creative development, Split Personalities is the perfect successor to the much sought-after Lost Lives collection, and will potentially herald a new phase in the already illustrious career of Stuart McAlpine Miller.

For more information about the artwork by Stuart McAlpine Miller, visit Castle Fine Art in Grand Arcade, St David’s Dewi Sant or contact the gallery on 02922 130 100, or email cardiff@castlefineart.com


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