Tuesday, 15 May 2012

'City of Glass 3: Hope Falls, hope falls....' , City of Glass 4

'Hope Falls/hope falls...'  100x70cms  oil on canvas

My third painting ‘ Hope Falls/hope falls....’ is  now complete and is a very different take on the novel, Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’.

The idea came from words:  a line from the Bible quoted in City of Glass, about the supposed scale of the Tower of Babel, where a man would have to walk for 3 days to escape its shadow.  How far could you go if you walked continuously for three days from Manhattan and where would you end up. ?   

I calculated 200 miles and found 2 stand-out candidates in upstate New York, with fantastic names that link to the novel.  I plumped for Hope Falls, (the blue spot in the painting) because of the echoes with the despair and disintegration of the detective, Quinn.  Truthville is the next painting.

 I liked the idea of positioning Manhattan centrally on the bottom edge and making something very small, very powerful.  The idea was to have the shadow of the tower over the map/landscape ending at Hope Falls and this was painted several times but never looked right.  A consequence of repainting this shadow and scrubbing /removing it, was a rich residue of intense red that suggested a bleeding wound.  
'Hope Falls/hope falls...' Detail

I can’t take credit for this- when I showed the painting to the group from our painting holiday, they pointed out the quality and mystery of the red stain and fiercely told me to leave it alone!  After several more attempts painting the shadow I realised they were right, and the tower is in the painting in a more subtle way.  What do you think?

'City of Glass 3'   150x120cms   oil on canvas

After my unsuccessful attempts to introduce the tower/shadow in ‘Hope Falls/hope falls...’ I was determined to make it work in this painting. The only question was how graphic and explicit it was going to be.  The ziggurat shape comes from the mythology of the tower and the Paramount building in New York.  Central Park becomes a window and the building appears ablaze....

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