Sunday, May 30, 2010

Discussion of a painting

Be warned this could be a long and rambling post!
On friday my partner looked at my new painting and said - what's the story with the buildings and birds? I said nothing really they just are. That wouldn't be an acceptable answer for his tutor at uni, or for an exhibition proposal...



This is not a major or significant piece of work, but it is interesting to think about a better answer for that question. This painting is a spin off (or continuation of a theme) from one of the monoprints I did last week. When I do the monoprints I work fast, I have a few art books/magazines/sketchbooks open on the table as I work, for ideas and inspiration. The bird and house image came from the cover of the last issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine which featured a sculpture made of clay, paper mache, and wire of a bird atop a small house. I really liked the dark - negative version of this print and that's what set off the painting.

There are other things that I might associate with it but they are not what the painting is about such as-1) I'm reading Wolf Hall at the moment, about the court of Henry VIII, it has constant references to people being sent to the Tower - which also reminds me of the superstition that if the ravens ever leave the tower of London England will fall...
2) Lying in bed listening to bush chooks (scrub fowl) scrabbling on the roof.
3) The fact that they are towers not houses has a fairy tail feel, also the size of the birds is magical.
4) Whether the birds are protective, malevolent, imaginary...
5) I could even look at it with an environmental slant - all those high rise developments in town, people living cut-off from nature, unaware of the birds swooping down to roost on their roof at night.
I hope that another person looking at the painting would bring their own associations and meanings to it. But really it's about the visual - that I wanted to make a painting with the dark silhouettes of the buildings and birds, and from there I wrestled with colour and composition to get something 'satisfactory'.

I'd love to hear how others feel about explaining the ideas behind their art. Hope you had a good weekend!

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