Xenia Stefanescu © Woven in the tapestry of life.  A self portrait. 2011 Archibald Finalist.While the dust has only just settled after the last day of the 2011 Archibald Exhibition at Tarrawarra Museum of Art, this finalist has been back at her easel for weeks.  Last week I had lunch with Xenia Stefanescu and saw some more of her unique work.  Lunch was partly gathered from her extensive veggie patch. The contents of the salad was picked, washed and prepared while we chatted about art and life. Xenia undeniably loves colour. A ‘scroll down’ to the works below, that I found in her studio, will attest to that. She celebrates the  contrasts and vibrancy of colour in every painting.As with her finalist portrait for the Archibald, evidence of her Rumanian heritage is ‘woven’ in varying degrees, into many of her works.Xenia_Stefanescu_12_sHer study of art and artists is a daily pleasure.  Her appetite for learning is voracious. I think what struck me the most though was the way that she sees the Australian landscape.  It’s another great example of multiculturalism, where the combination of cultural influences leads to a whole new way of seeing the landscape. Xenia_Stefanescu_3_sXenia_Stefanescu_5_sXenia_Stefanescu_10_sXenia_Stefanescu_18_sXenia_Stefanescu_16_sXenia’s gardening is not just confined to veggies.  She proudly tells me that when she bought her home, there were no flowers or trees or shrubs.  Now there are blooms and trees in profusion.  She loves our own indigenous plants as much as imported plants. She paints them all with exuberance.  She even creates unique blooms that are not copied from nature but are the result of her imagination.  She’s as much a ‘gardener’ in her painting as she is around her home. Xenia_Stefanescu_17_sXenia_Stefanescu_19_sHer technique of painting with syringes creates it’s own unique effect…





Xenia Stefanescu © (detail)

Rumour has it that around 47,000 people came through the doors of Tarrawarra Museum of Art during the Archibald’s month long stay in July.  I’ve not heard anyone say that they were disappointed after making the trip out to the Yarra Valley to see it.  Xenia Stefanescu is already working toward her entry for next year.  It’s under wraps at the moment, but I’ll be looking out for it next year.


Margaret Olley  Xenia Stefanescu ©

My thanks to Xenia and her husband for their generous hospitality and for expanding my experience of Xenia’s work.

All reproductions of works in this post are published with the permission of the artist.

All work is Xenia Stefanescu ©. Xenia can be contacted on (03) 5778 7487.