Working on new painting is such an exciting start to 2022: Standard Bearer, acrylic on canvas, 200x160cm unfinished)
Domestic tapestries were the vertical wall to wall carpeting of their time. They covered the chilly walls of the rich and hung on hooks were the ultimate in interchangeable decoration. Heraldic tapestries were filled with escutcheons, emblems, crests, mottos, monograms, shields, coats of arms, ornaments, standards…. that created personal mythologies.
All art is about mythology, as we ceaselessly manufacture fictions which act as a strong identifier of the human condition- and then change them. Patterns assimilate mythologies of the past. Historical patterns are a kind of grammar from which it is possible to quote the past to make new contiguous languages that relate to the present.
The fantasy of decoration taken up a notch; imaginative forays against convention in juxtaposing historically unconnected styles.These are variations on themes that are considered tasteful. Yes a nod to women and domesticity, yet an additional parodic dis-integration, a playful treatise in the mutability of all things.
Even though I’ve worked with 50s patterns before, I’m finding it more challenging than more traditional designs as the black will be added later with tar gel drip. I’m working very slowly on contrasting patterns – and the figures that inhabit these worlds of bizarre pattern. Unlike my other paintings this process is not about layers but is still about human error. Unmechanized pattern- making has cultural implications of formal dissolution and indeterminacy.
Imperfection, not as artists’ spontaneity (although there is some room for this yet it needs to be carefully orchestrated in this acrylic medium) but almost as an elaboration of meaning. Despite the recognisable use of medieval tropes and patterns, there will be unpredictability.
The unfinished figure had to come first – so that she was not overwhelmed. Adornment and ornamentation are an addition of something that doesn’t need to be there, yet are a tool that creates visions of hybrid lives.
Additional figures will appear within the patterns, creating a very different theatre or stage within the textiles (curtains) each side of the painting. Paintings within paintings, like boxes within boxes, painting is an everyday theatre, a stage of ‘becoming’.