Monday, 8 August 2016

A Tragic Division

Eden Divided, 2016, Oil on linen, 40 x 60 cm (Diptych)

What was initially meant to explore one aspect of Walpole Autumn (see below) turned into another idea weaving past and present together.

Walpole Autumn, 2015, Oil on linen, 21 x 30 cm

Eden Divided draws inspiration from Frank Auerbach who reinterpreted Biblical themes from traditional paintings - with the use of abstraction. I have never done a diptych before and this new idea drew inspiration from a magazine, from which I became interested in the diptych of the tree. Although Eden Divided can be seen as one piece it could also be seen as separate realities since the composition continues on the sides. What was initially meant to be another tree transformed into a serpent - the timeless symbol of evil. 

This diptych is a response to how conflict and injustice causes crises and division today and that sometimes nature is destroyed by greed. It is my personal belief that everyone has an ongoing duty to be stewards of the Earth today.

I am not retelling the Garden of Eden story but responding to what happens - when some people today abuse their free will and choose to cause destruction rather than fulfilling their duty to be stewards of the Earth, so we all have a chance of being reunited with Eden. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Culture and Heritage

Lost in the Procession, 2014, Oil on canvas, 63 x 77 cm

Lost in the Procession was a response to a local chariot procession and drew inspiration from Selfie. I wanted to contrast the beautiful figure (the main subject of the painting) and the crowd depicted as lines, blurs and nothingness. Additionally her attention otherwise beautifully expressed is drawn away by her music she listens to (note her ear plugs).

While painting this, I did a quick study of the Sassoon Piece (see painting below) to link to the Hand study: Object of Desire paintings. My maternal grandfather Franc Stewart Gumley worked in several countries including India and China and carried it around with him throughout the world. This painting gave me the opportunity to explore form and shape in depth.

Object of Desire: Sassoon Piece, 2014, Oil on linen, 40 x 30 cm

Friday, 19 December 2014

Object of Desire

 Hand study: Temptation 1, 2014, Oil on canvas, 19 x 35.5 cm 

Recently I have explored J.M.W Turner's work through visiting Late Turner: Painting Set Free. I am inspired by the way he reflected upon historic/contemporary events and sometimes contrasted past and present.

While painting Fading and Selfie I worked through some studies, which gave me the opportunity to explore hands and human form in depth. Additionally it gave me the chance to understand the idea of 'Object of Desire' before incorporating it into Fading and Selfie.

Both Hand study: Temptation 1 and Fading contrast the Apple from the Story of Creation and the phone, now so often connected with an iPhone with it's iconic logo of an apple with a bite. Both the physical apple and logo are timeless symbols of temptation - an ever present challenge to human society from Eden to silicon valley and beyond.

Hand study: Temptation 2, 2014, Oil on canvas, 19 x 35.5 cm

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Multiple perspectives...

Fading, 2014, Oil on canvas, 70 x 60 cm

Selfie, 2014, Oil on canvas, 70 x 90 cm

These paintings draw inspiration from the methodology of They Prepare to Play (a show, which was part of the MFA course in which we set ideas from Hamlet in the present). Outside my practice I am interested in the ancient world - Greek mythology in particular. I find researching paintings and ideas from the past both fascinating and rewarding.

These paintings set the story of Narcissus in the present. Fading is about the contemporary Narcissus fixated with his phone while his hand is marble white referencing his eventual transformation in the original story. The colours on his clothes are gradually fading and he is fading away into his surroundings as a consequence of his self absorption and vanity. This is how the world sees him. On the other hand Selfie is about how the figure sees the world. Although this focuses on the same story as in Fading this time the contemporary Narcissus is placed in a setting surrounded by a crowd.

This gave me the opportunity to revisit abstraction while trying to create another perspective. This setting was inspired by the town centre near the Bentalls Centre; where there are some shops selling 'Objects of Desire' and phones. Interestingly the paved area with fish provided inspiration for the pool (where Narcissus falls in love with his reflection). 

Time and time again I have seen some people post selfies on social networks including Facebook and Instagram - which has influenced these paintings. Here the figure is depicted as realistic whereas the crowd have been distorted into abstract gestural lines, blurs and nothingness. They do not matter to the figure; the only things, which are real to him are himself and his object of desire...

These paintings deal with greed and how it can sometimes take us over, distract us and take our attentions away from real people. We do now as in the past give into temptation - sometimes without any concern for the effect this would have on other people. Additionally the paintings explore how materialism is an endless desire. It made me ask, 'How long does the pleasure that a material object gives a person last for?' These paintings drew inspiration from St Paul was a tent maker by weaving past and present together while reflecting upon some issues in contemporary society.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014