'Anthem'. Painting-collage. Mixed media on board. 2014
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'Anthem' Painting-collage 2014
33.7cm 26.4 cm (13 1/4" x 10 3/8") Mixed media on board
Anthem is a painting-collage about art and life. In modern times artists have asked the question: what lies ‘behind’ the canvas? Some went to the extremes of cutting the canvas, tearing it apart, or turning it to face the wall. In this work, the canvas has been folded like a curtain which has been attached with drawing pins to suggest the ‘reality’ behind the canvas. The question is, what is the nature of the reality behind the canvas? As in a previous painting-collage entitled Polarity, the answer lies in the duality and coexistence of spirit and matter, with the composition comprising two sections: a mirror and a geometric coloured pattern. In the case of Anthem, we see a mirror (a Heraclitus mirror) where the spectator is reflected, as if in a stream, his image forever changing. Behind the ephemeral, eroded surface of this mirror we see a black and white reproduction of a painting representing a young woman looking at a skull by Belgian artist Antoine Wiertz, entitled La Belle Rosine (1847). Wiertz’s works usually carries a social or philosophical message, here one that is akin to the ‘Vanitas’ theme in painting. Then we see a geometric pattern of platonic forms representing the spirit, with a circle holding the duality of mirror and geometry together. Resting over the folds of the canvas is a compass and a pencil, metaphors for direction, inspiration, and creativity. As in the case of my previous painting-collages, this is a work conceived as a form of visual metaphysical meditation.
(Text form the artist's studio journal, 9th January 2014)