I spent this weekend going backwards and forwards from my studio. Although I am working with acrylic, which involves less drying time, I still need to leave stains and ground to dry between layers as the paint is wetter and denser. I also needed to rephotograph my work for the postcards as by some curious colour translation, my first attempt had become almost fluorescent:/
I dragged my canvas down the fire escape to photograph outside. I know this is good practice but I don’t do this throughout the documentation of the work because of the sheer logistics of moving in. I noticed how my canvas related to the old factory buildings and was appreciating how it’s ‘gigantic’ surface appeared tiny in the outside context. Also kind of reminded me of Francesca Woodman’s bodies in dilapidated buildings, not the same but a nod towards this brilliant photographer. Colour for photos much better as a result of doing this.
Triptych – I have been writing about Francis Bacon’s triptych’s, in particular…
Bacon’s ‘Second Version of Triptych 1944’ is a retelling of an original painting. The panels create physical boundaries between the three canvases and its title acknowledges its status and ‘second’ chronologically. The second version of this painting is less raw, less gestural; we see a reverse process of the authentic and active line. Despite Bacon’s greater knowledge when making the work, its more static surface lacks the visceral power of the original. This work is shaped by learning and the benefit of outside seeing. The painting has been rehearsed and seems more polished. Perhaps artists are able to more truthfully communicate their intentions when their work is slightly removed from themselves, where they cross through the boundary of auto biographer to storyteller. As Frank states, stories’ capacity to enact truths do not create‘…copies of an original. They are enactments in which something original comes to be…’
I have decided to try and create my own triptych using pink panels. I recognise that recently I have been using a lot of pink in my work (of varying shades). This comes straight from my colour palettes and fascination with flesh. I painted a magenta-esque pink as the ground, then created gestural stains using red and blue. It’s difficult to know how these will come out so I was pleased with the dry stain trace as they dried evenly without leaving a dark ring. I think this was because the canvas was taught so didn’t bow with the weight of the water. Photographed these outside as well to record the true colour. Again this was logistically difficult as shadow kept falling on the surface, but I recorded some anyway as trace within the trace.
I had already chosen which images to paint on the triptych but needed to do some strategic planning to work out where each figure would be placed. I wanted to maintain the sense of diagonals and emerging from the ground so the stains dictated where I placed the figures. So far I have used colour which I have drawn out of the ground of the canvas where the paint has separated. I am trying to keep my marks light and quite drawing like with some tonal variation on the hair/face to make this emerge more from the backgrounds. I am really pleased with how these look so far.
Great to spend an extended period of time evolving the work. Again it is clear how my research is informing my practice. The line is integral to the story being told by the surface. And the subtlety of colour works, less contrasting and softer in places. I am enjoying the combination of marks, both fine and broad, created by scraping and applying with brush. The loose surface is fluid and gives a sense of the narrative being open and unfixed. I am going to try to hold back as much as possible to leave these trace figures as shadows…
One Month Reflection
I am so glad that I made this piece as it responded directly to my research and writing about Bacon’s work. Having now finished it, the triptych feels trace like and I held back with overworking the surface to further reduce the figures. I also feel that the fleshiness of the ground captured a sense of energy in the figures whilst still allowing them (in particular the figure on the write) to emerge quietly from the ground.