Stephen Loughman uses appropriation of film imagery, photography and found images in his paintings. Often using imagery sourced from science fiction and horror films, paused on his TV screen and meticulously copied and distilled into paintings, Loughman appropriates commercial media images to create a new meaning. This approach lends his works an uncanny and unsettling atmosphere. The images he paints are charged with a strange energy; the feeling that something is about to happen or has already happened, and, as Hugo Hamilton has noted exists as “fictionalised somewhere in the past by culture and commerce“.
Loughman deliberately leaves the interpretation of his paintings open-ended for the viewer. For example in the diptych “Wolf/Walking” (2019) a repeated image of a chair barricading a door could be considered stock images which could have been taken from any number of thriller or suspense films. In this case, the two images have been appropriated from The Babadook and It Follows two recent commercially successful horror films. Loughman’s distillation of these images in painting creates a potential space for the viewer to consider other ideas alluding to barricading or fortification.
In each case Loughman is adept at presenting viewers with a facade that invites us to look beyond, to explore the house, or the world, behind the image. Loughman’s deceptively simple paintings are in fact marvels of economy, and their relevance and implications continue to grow.