A striking new painting, “Velvet Sky” (2017) by Stefan Gevers has been gifted by the artist to the Peter Mac Art collection and is now displayed in the atrium on Level 6 (leading to the entrance of Ward 6A).

Stefan caught up with Peter Mac's curator Svetlana Karovich to talk about his donation.

Stefan, thank you for your most generous gift to Peter Mac - It is greatly appreciated. Why did you decide to donate to us?

I first came to the new Peter Mac building in 2019 while accompanying my wife during her treatment. This whole period was a difficult one for us which we had to adjust to and navigate. Almost immediately, we began to notice the artworks displayed throughout the building which we found really uplifting. The artworks provided a really welcome distraction from the shock, stress and worry we were experiencing and took us away to another place, away from all the clinical processes and procedures.

So, looking at the artworks has become a regular part of your experience at Peter Mac?

As an artist of course, I immediately noticed the paintings and was naturally very interested and my wife and I continue to discover new works and see more on display. We have made a point of walking throughout the building when we are here, and really appreciate the experience. It helps to normalise our time here and is something we really enjoy.

An art collection is not always something one expects to find in a hospital setting. Were you surprised by the collection?

Especially of this quality. I really noticed the high calibre of the artists in the collection and the thoughtful and considered way the paintings were displayed and that really resonated with me. I loved that and wanted to be a part of this and straightaway thought of my painting Velvet Sky.

At Peter Mac we strive to make the art collection an integral part of a hospital visit, humanising our clinical spaces. What was your impression?

I strongly believe that contemporary art can change the mood, feel and atmosphere in a space for the better which is very much the case in the hospital. Artwork is a powerful medium to lift mood and create dialogue. Professionally it is fantastic to be part of the Peter Mac Art Collection and as an artist, the ultimate goal of course is to be able to show your work in a public space and reach out to people. I am really happy with the location on Level 6 selected for my painting and think it is really special.

Peter Mac is an amazing building architecturally but it would be hard to imagine without the art. The two work brilliantly together, one complementing the other.

Can you tell us a little about“ Velvet Sky”

Before I begin any work I have a strong sense of a colour I want to explore. In this case it was a deep purple, a Peter Mac colour as it turned out. This gives the work a sense of mood and direction during the creative process as it develops. Velvet Sky, like much of my work, is about movement and the passage of time, both the movement of the earth in general and of us moving in our lives. I am inspired by timing, repetition and movement and the inherent patterns within that. While the painting is abstract, it refers to the landscape and retains a strong figurative link and a defined horizon line. I want my work to make an impact that is more than canvas and paint alone. I hope Velvet Sky draws people in, that they can pause and are encouraged to look and reflect where they are in time and place in their own lives and hopefully, it can change the focus of those who are in Peter Mac in a positive way.

Each piece in the collection of more than 900 works has been generously donated to Peter Mac through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, which encourages gifts of art from private collectors to public galleries, museums, libraries and hospitals.