Paint Box

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Scale play by making objects massive turns relatively normal scenes on their heads, the dress/lamp tree with illuminated frocks suspended from its branches. Misplaced objects (motorbike in a ballroom) and objects selected to convey meaning - a characteristic, interest or job link. Elaborate interiors with Cinderella-esque figures. Many animals, particularly birds - swans and rabbits for Alice. Frames, gardens, trees and tents creating a jungle with hideaway places. I aspire to achieve this in my work but combine the right elements. Even in his portraits there is a prop and costume element. Also there is an ambiguous narrative which allows interpretation. Walker creates scrapbooks with all the elements of his eventual images, he then extracts key symbols, for example the giant butterflies. I am a collector of images but I never seek to collate them in this way, it seems like a good way of instinctively grouping objects, similar to when I created the mapping collage pieces. This was a labour intensive process but made good use of the masses of pictures I had already accumulated.

Annie Leibovitz' Vogue photoshoots with Kiera Knightley and Kirsten Dunst explore the same sense of magic and romance. In the Marie Antoinette series, she photographs within an ornate, but deserted palace as fits the story; the costume compliments her wealth. Her photographs are more literal in their story telling but still interpret familiar scenes, like Paula Rego. I particularly like that Leibovitz has a fashion collection and a personal collection of photographs, one layered with symbols and meaning, the other pure and simple, and largely in black and white.
Found Longshaw's illustration dresses - not so relevant but like the idea of the drawing becoming the clothing. 

As suggested by E. I have looked at Mervyn Peake - this is in reference to my flowl sculpture on the oca ma blog. It quite reminds me of Edward Gorey's work, dark and scratchy. And of course the twisted illustrations for Alice in Wonderland play with scale and animals and fantasy. I plan to read Gormenghast to gain a better understanding of his genre of work.


From this research I intend to begin creating a scrapbook of images to collate scenes and stories. Hopefully this will enable me to structure a painting from different elements in an instinctive way. I will also revisit use of symbols. This is a direction which I had subconsciously avoided but it is reoccurring so needs more time devoted to it. Playing with scale is very fantasy based and will be challenge to achieve the right balance but through working on a smaller scale and with composite collage I will attempt to place objects together. Walker's work is very composed and again this is a trickery which I enjoy as it facilitates ambiguity. I need to look at some literary (but not obvious) references to support my ideas. Having just read a damning review of the BP portrait award (too much of the same, copies from photos...) I am brought back to the problem of constructing an image. Usually I find an image I like and add background and objects afterwards. I need to construct and create to create context rather than transplanting my character into a void. Even if they are no longer in their original context, they must have a environment to exist in. This could be real or imaginary or a combination of both, although I still wish to work observationally in one sense, then free the paint so that I don't attempt to imitate a photograph, or life as it is. There is a neccessity to create narrative to engage my viewer and allow them to project themselves and their experience onto the scene.

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