Living With Art: Dane Lovett

Dane Lovett’s paintings are delicately crafted observations of familiar subject matter, from domestic plants and flowers to left over remnants of music and popular culture. At the beginning of the year he presented a new body of work inspired by nature and will release ‘Flowers’ with Perimeter Editions in late November.

Lovett currently lives and works in Melbourne. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, in 2004 and received a Masters of Fine Art from Victorian College of Art, Melbourne, in 2016. 3:33 Art Projects had the pleasure of collaborating with Lovett on the inaugural Clayton Utz Art Partnership exhibition at Clayton Utz, Melbourne in 2018.

Dane Lovett, portrait 2020

At the start of the year you presented ‘Dirty Lily’ at STATION Gallery, Melbourne, born of a residency in China  – the first time in a while you had worked from life. How were these paintings different and are you working from life more now with the pandemic?

It was fantastic to have the freedom to try different ways of working while I was on the residency but eventually I did work from images I took. The paintings I made from life were really just rudimentary sketches but the time that I would spend making them and really looking at the environment gave me a lot of ideas for new approaches and further work for when I was back in the studio. I think this has carried through to how I look at and approach the landscape now. 

What attributes of ‘the act of painting’ are so intriguing or have aesthetic potential for you?

I’ve always been drawn to line work and mark making in painting and the way it can alter the feeling of a picture. There is an energy that different brush work can bring to a painting. For me when I work in a serial it really accentuates this, re-working the same image again and again. I also just love to paint and not labouring too much before I start allows me to think through things while I’m doing it, whether it’s future work or problem solving within the image.

Dane Lovett, 7 Inch Still Life Albert St 2, 2020, oil and acrylic on wood panel, 41.5 x 32cm

Dane Lovett, 7 Inch Still Life Albert St 1, 2020, oil and acrylic on wood panel, 41.5 x 32cm

How do you select your palette and if you connect these to feeling, what aspects of the emotional spectrum are you working through?

It’s never something I consciously set out to do but after I have a few works and I see them side by side, I’ll refine the palette for a particular body of paintings. They don’t necessarily relate to how I feel personally, but a tone I want to set deliberately for a series of work. In saying that, sometimes it is like a stream of consciousness thing, where I step back and realise I’ve painted something that correlates to how I feel that day. My high school art teacher used to say it has something to do with the colour of the underwear you’re wearing.

What have you been working on since the show and how has your practice evolved?

I’m cutting myself a lot of slack this year, and it’s been a challenge without access to my studio for a while, but I’ve been making some small watercolours at home which I really enjoyed. I painted everything that was on the table in the lounge room and it felt very comforting and straightforward but has also documented this time for me. I’ve also been working on a book with Perimeter Editions and STATION, which is a real honour. I’m really stoked to be a part of their collection.

Dane Lovett, Lotus 2, 2019, oil acrylic and gesso on wood panel, 37 x 32cm

Has the double lock down in Melbourne affected you and can you describe the impact on artists generally?

I’ve been extremely fortunate but it’s definitely been a very heavy and difficult time. I can’t speak for anyone else but I think it will take a while to bounce back. I’m sure some good art will come from this time though. I just can’t wait to properly hang out with friends and family again.

Looking back on the past months have you changed, refined or adapted your sense of self as a creative person?

It’s impossible not to reevaluate your sense of self, values and place within the world during a pandemic. It’s a lot of time for reflection. I’ve been enjoying the creative work other people have been doing and getting excited to try out some ideas and projects I’ve been thinking about.


Dane Lovett is represented by STATION Gallery, Melbourne and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney.

This article is presented in collaboration with 3:33 Art Projects