When faced with real, material objects, I haven't much patience for text. I haven’t blogged for half a year. But it’s been a busy year so far, and I do have lots of news to share over the week!
My open critique went wonderfully. I requested immediate feedback. Opinions, feelings, thoughts; all were welcomed and recorded. The support material, unfortunately, went largely unnoticed – drawings, research, theory, fiction, poetry – but that’s fine for now. We addressed the elements and near-resolve of each painting, and my mentors concluded the session. They encouraged more experimentation to further utilize the campus facilities. The following week I started afresh.
With a few weeks left of the semester, I worked much larger, with bigger brushes and more solvents. We built and wrapped a 170 cm x 190 cm stretcher frame. The weave was thin, the paint was thin; everything would be thin, washy, stained. Everything would, ideally, stretch me from the practical comforts while expanding on the subject. Most often in a painting, I crop the motif within an image 50 centimetres in diameter. And since my motif is most recognisably a naked child or group, I considered more seriously the life of their clothes. What happened to them and what implications could they carry, if painted so large?
Having reduced the subject matter to abandoned clothing, I decided a simpler object would emphasize the scale. The simpler the better; verging on absurdity. Recently I added a sock to a painting, beneath a boy’s foot, as if it were a deflated condom. The idea seemed strong enough to expand. So I made quick sketches until the image clicked for me. Key references were Guston and Baselitz, but only just now did I remember something heroic: Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child with St Anne.
To a Freudian reader, distancing the biblical references from Caravaggio’s painting reveals something very regressive. The child and mother, stepping on a phallic symbol together – might be something to explore later. I’m very interested in this, but I should let time and process decide what impressions arise in my own work. I’ll later report back with my results.
Perth-based emerging artist in Western Australia