Gaining Perspective

Gaining Perspective This painting has taken about a week to produce, and although there are places which may need a bit of a retouch, that would mainly involve repainting whole sections and I just wanted to get the image out. The conception of the piece is very literal and to some degree a bit immature. I submitted my clock piece to the RA Summer Exhibition but unfortunately didn’t make it through the second round of judging, so I felt like I should paint about it (I read somewhere that rejection makes you more creative and therefore less likely to fail again). And so the obvious thing to paint was what the rejection felt like. The day after I had started this painting I had calmed down a bit, but it was still worth painting. I’ve been a bit annoyed recently with people asking me ‘what does it mean?’ when they see a painting and I always reply ‘what do you think it means?’ to which I never really get an answer. Currently I subscribe to Roland Barthes ideas expressed in his essay ‘Death of the Author’ where he describes how a work of literature or art is completed within the viewer and not by the author. So I see what my intentions were as a guide that is to be followed and meandered by the viewer for them to create their own conclusions. However people are often very hesitant to guess at a work of art and any meaning for fear of sounding like an idiot, so within this painting I tried to put very cliche symbols to instill confidence in conveyance of meaning. The very attacking stance of the main figure is an accusatory one (representative of the RA in this case), with the large hand monument representing ‘The Might’ of true art and painting, at which’s feet is my own broken submission. To the left at overlooking vultures, an oil field representative of traditional use of oil paints over acrylics for this sort of painting in particular (I use acrylics because they are less expensive, the oil field is over the horizon, out of reach, for the future maybe?). The crowd of onlookers is about how silly a sausage I felt when I got rejected having told people I’d got through the first round (Hey, I’m a proud, boastful individual and it was an achievement). The clocks within the figure’s chest all point to 1 because I’m in my first year of BA and I’m trying to say how immature my work may seem to some.

I wanted to bring a sense of space to reflect the surrealist works of Dali. I just love how expansive the landscapes are, with massively busy paintings yet he still projects a serene environment.

Salvador Dali, The Temptation of St. Anthony, 1946
Salvador Dali, The Temptation of St. Anthony, 1946

Finally I called it ‘Gaining Perspective’ for two reasons. The first is obvious, the perspective is pretty heavy what with the finger and the tiny people in the background and stuff. Secondly, because the whole experience of it put into perspective what I am aiming to do as an artist and how with a competition such as the summer show, backstory doesn’t exist for a piece.

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