I’ve been working on a triptych designed to be part of the inside-put series. Also serving as preparation for Christmas Krowji Open Studios (scheduled for last weekend in November). The aim was to use a limited palette of three colours (rose quinacridone, payne’s grey and unbleached titanium – providing the boule for each panel) and to paint each of the three with a different chair, different foreground, and each juxtaposing the chair/interior with a tangled wood. Echoes of Friedrich’s ruined abbey painting in terms of the composition, while also using a sense of a theatrical stage set and working with a lighting scheme derived from the effect of car headlamps when driving down a wood-lined road at night (could’ve gone with this towards a Richterish ‘media’ image of course, but not my intention with this work).
Key enquiry here is around the theme of inside-out and the effects of dramatic lighting in a limited colour palette context. The use of three panels was intended to help tell a story through the shifted differences between them. The limited colour palette certainly helped to give a sense of unity and vibrancy across the three images, while supporting a wide range of tones/values and contrasts. This palette felt manageable yet still full of possibilities while moving away from the classic Zorn palette. The colour combo was certainly was not subtle however and it moved the work away from a clear reference to daylight ‘real’ world. This helped to push the work towards a type of fairy tale atmosphere and worked with the cue from the headlamp lit woods. Somehow the rose quinacridone seems to vibrate when used thinly on the pale ground, in itself seeming unnatural and other.
The supports I used gave rise to some issues and qualities that I didn’t feel helped achieve what I was looking for in terms of detailing. Because these 3 images were painted as ‘product’ (for open studios), I used canvases that came with readymade frames. I generally work on smoother surfaces. As I used different plant leaves to print shapes within the foreground (helping to buildup a sense of dense foliage quickly), the canvas rather detracted from getting the subtleties from the leaf prints. This was disappointing, but to compensate, I layered up colours to help create detail – perhaps thereby creating a sense of detail rather than actual detail.
Overall, the three images afforded scope to play with a limited palette in different ways, to play with lighting, different props and atmosphere and I like the theatricality of the images afforded by the ‘out of place’ presence of the different chairs. Out of this work, I take a renewed sense of the possibility of using lighting as a mode of both theatricality and otherness and today I will begin planning a nocturne in the manner of Cuyp/Turner/Friedrich to experiment more with ‘glow’ as a source of magic and light, and working with inside-out.