Wednesday, 5 February 2014

'City of Glass 17- (Adam and Eve)' 200 x 60cms

Once the picture was up, I couldn't stop seeing the tower shape as a male figure and the Manhattan shape as female so have changed the title from 'Tower' to 'Adam and Eve', which connects and references to ideas in the novel*.  Love the play between object and image, the tower is both solid and transparent, it contains the image, it is behind the image, it looks down on the image. The colours are luscious but the tower/figure adds a sinister oppressive note to the piece. 

There is a kind of madness in doing these large scale pieces- it's impossible to work on the floor anymore and the studio is getting smaller and smaller with each piece I make.  But the scale is necessary and right because the intention is for the viewer to be in the painting, looking down from an enormous tower onto Manhattan below or to be on the street, becoming Quinn, following Stillman.  

Love these words from Rothko, talking about scale: 'I paint very large pictures. I realise that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however - I think it applies to other painters I know - is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command.' 

However, I think that whatever scale you work on, whatever the motives, familiarity can make things more cosy. I shall work again on smaller pieces because it will be hard and claustrophobic but as artists we like a challenge.....

The soundtrack to this painting was all 1970's: Animals by Pink Floyd (thank-you, Andy Garner), The Heart of Saturday Night (Tom Waits), and Hejira, my favourite Joni Mitchell album.


Looks good on a blue wall..

* 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster

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