The last month in Salisbury has been interesting, the city becoming the centre of world media coverage, filled with reporters failing to find locals really all that prepared to talk that much. The helicopters hovered, chunks of the city got closed off and remain so with an increased number of police units driving around and patrolling the streets.
The images from the papers have been filled with fluorescent coated police and hazmat suited figures, getting into town was a no go for a while and now the parking is free, but access from the main carpark still blocked. My lead up material has as a result been culled from the papers and cut up collage style. However, it took a couple of pages for the story to emerge and it has been a long term…
My three portraits for the assignment are the main people affected by the nerve agent, the Skripals and DS Bailey. I was struck by the idea of a triptych as a religious thing, last time I went to Southampton gallery, there was a large tempura one on display.
Annie Kevans method of display is to paint all her portraits the same size, frame them the same and hang them in a uniform pattern, which is easy enough to do with 3 pictures. Yuko Nasu doesn’t appear to frame the pictures and again they are displayed uniformly as a block, the links between the pictures more noticeable this way, however by looking at the transportable three-fold images, I have my display pre-arranged and the link is automatic between the pieces.
This is a cathedral city, its main purpose as a market town and a centre for the religion that helped govern at its time of creation. That led me to looking at Russian triptychs because if politics can’t link us then maybe faith can. I’m not a church-going individual and the thought an attack in a place as middle England as you can get is pretty terrifying, so common ground whilst supporting those that are affected seems to be important to me.
A couple of monotypes per portrait worked over in dip pen, the most accurate pictures picked for the final piece, By working over the dried monoprint with pen and ink, it seems slightly more authentic than painting over glass and getting a direct copy, by sticking with the pastel paper I tried in ex3.3 I have achieved a rougher series of blocks to work with which definitely worked well for Yulia and Nick’s pictures, but not so well for Sergei’s, however finding a good photo to work from was difficult and the picture chosen eventually I feel had too many highlights to the skin. backed in doubled card, with the three pictures stitched together so it can fold and stand independently.
I have picked the 2 outer pictures based on them being turned to the centre and Yulia is front on to her father
This looks better outside
I think the halo contrasts well with the terracotta brick colour, the stones are just us trying to level up a sloping bit of Salisbury and this wall is currently in full morning sunshine. As a picture it would have more impact if I took the photo with it where the bench was, but I’m just not that confrontational, you still can’t get to the area anyway.
It has been good to link an assignment to a moment in time, I think if I was doing it away from the coursework, I’d use oils and make it more decorative, probably painting on wood.
In reviewing this part of the course, I wanted to keep the portraits linked for the assignment work, this meant there had to be a relationship between them. The three people I have chosen are off Love Island (ITV2) and the link is in that both the men are attracted to Megan, who is herself attracted to both Eyal and Alex. This is modern TV at its most car crashiest.
The paradox of all the people on the screen being viewed as desireable makes a mockery of the male gaze discussed in Ways of seeing (John Berger) However, the show does highlight the differences society expects from its women folk, getting ready takes a small artillery of extra items in comparison to the men etc. The head shots I’ve chosen to create also do not show the men doing anything along with the female, so another Berger contradiction.
To create my monoprints, I sketched the three in loose oils 4 times each.
Of these 12 I picked 3 that seemed the best likenesses.
These I placed under glass and used for 2 stage prints, a first looser oil paint as shadows and a second for lines. I did take photos of each process, only as it appears I hadn’t put the memory card into the camera, this is a moot point…
After the printing process, I added colour with more loose oil paint, After looking at the work of Annie Kevans, this was specificly to highlight lips in both sexes, to show sexuality and youth.
This then gave me the opportunity to pick from 9 pictures for the assignment piece.
Arranging in order for a final photo I have them clipped onto the wall of my studio in a non permanent fixing.
This I think helps with the sense that the relationships themselves are also not fixed and can be changed around if the other Megan changes her mind an she wants to look at Alex (to her left).
I can see that the extra work has made this part of the course a bit more relevant, although in my practise I think it is still more of a build up to finished pieces. the extra prints provided more choice to show from and as an effect, this is a quick way to make a comment about society today.
Lets face facts, if you have to go on TV and be enclosed in a goldfish bowl to find love, you have to wonder at the potential long-term possibilities of any of the relationships.