24 December 2010

Clockwork Diptych

This was my final project for my "Painting and Source: Questions of Representation" course with Christine Major. The work in progress of which can be seen here. It's a continuation of the style emulation studies in the previous post. I had to use the formal strategies from different artists in a way that related to my choice of subject matter/concept.

Clockwork Diptych, 36"x36", Oil on canvas, 2010

the artist statement that the prof required I write for context:

"My choice of images for this final project was a single scene from A Clockwork Orange, in which the boys are sitting in the Korova Milk Bar behind a table made from two female mannequins. In this opening scene of the film, we see one continuous shot, starting as a close up of the main character’s face, zooming out to reveal his surroundings as he remains still and unblinking. This scene inspired my final project in the both the subject matter (male dominated dystopia, the female form as literal object in service of men), and in the visual symmetry and stillness; qualities that are, to me, reminiscent of painting more so than film.

This choice evolved from my original list, as I had listed film images and time/nostalgia themes as some of my inspirations. As a cult-classic Stanley Kubrick film, the image stands alone as an icon of cult movies. But when repeated in different painterly treatments, the image stands away from its original context, as a question on the consumption and representation of images, especially of the female nude in new media and contemporary painting practices.

My aesthetic choice was a combination of Richter, Polke, and Tuymans’ techniques. I wanted to utilize Richter’s neutral representation of images in one of them and Tuymans’ ideas of formal “failure” and “incomplete” mediation of cultural images in the other. Both mixed with Polke-like, playfully iconoclastic, milky white stains and smears. These add both to the degradation of the image and to the content, as milk in this context can be seen as a visual euphemism both in the context of the film and in it's application to the painted surface. The chaotic and abject application of these stains could then be read as violent; a war between the sexes."

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