A collection of my first paintings in the series intended for exhibition. It is my intention to create a piece of art that represents my view of modern Belfast/N Ireland without pandering to any preconceived religious or sectarian factions. The paintings are intended to be satirical and anti-political art despite the subject matter being the images of politicians. I am striving to make what could be deemed as anti-political political art.
The use of watercolour stemmed from the work of Annie Kevans and her series Boys, Gods and Aliens and Girls. Kevans works from acrylic presenting her work as kitsch and childlike, the viewer getting to see some of the most famous and infamous faces in the world as young children. I wanted to utilise a similar method in depicting local politicians, many of whom have been active since the pre 97 conflict in Northern Ireland. These politicians are amongst the last relics of the troubles and are believed by many to be one of the reasons why the religious divide still continues so I wanted to paint them in bright childlike tones shades and colours, using watercolour in direct opposition oil which is normally used in political portraits. The background was intended to be blank, with the odd paint splatter, but no block colours, i thought it was reminiscent of family portraits, those artificial blank background shots of families posing for pictures meant to be adorned on the walls of their living rooms.
The idea to paint these local politicians mid coitus was by chance, by pausing an online video of a political debate which made the figure pull a face, frozen in mid conversation. It took months for me to actually come round to developing the idea and involves trawling through hours of interviews, debates and speeches, pausing and unpausing in order to find the best images to be used, and reappropriated as the politician in questions ‘sex face’.
I have observed how Annie Kevans has displayed her paintings and would prefer to group them in either rows displayed around the room however large windows mean there would be gaps in the line of paintings. I could display in party groupings but this may present issues relating to political preference, I may need to ensure all groups have equal amounts of portraits to ensure a ‘visual neutrality’
Another idea was to have less organisation, I had pondered a ‘criminal investigation board’ but it takes away from the satirical aspect, or maybe adds to much to it? it would be confusing for the viewer I imagine people asking me ‘Ok so your implying the politicians are criminals but why are they all taken of them having an orgasm?
Whatever my answer would have been it wouldn’t have been great.
The grouping could be more chaotic and still be aesthetically pleasing but I intend mount the portraits with their names and official titles so I think some organisation is necessary.
I started this painting as I felt I hadn’t done anything ‘big’ in a while. The painting is actually pretty different than the one I set out to make but Im unusually pleased with it. Whilst I’m still not 100% convinced of the style I think I can take away some aspects I think the decision to blend the clothes with the bending background was a successful one, the background was directly based on the floor of the s-21 prison. The figure was from one of the few photos I found that had the subject taken from two different angles, I took the decision to step away from the more somber images I had been making and try out something that was somewhat removed from the event.
I am trying to push the subject matter into something more obscure. The large coloured pieces are ok but dont bring anything new, they are just ordinary paintings. Nothing special. But these sketches are something a bit different looking at the painting close up you firstly view the negative space and the squares then the features when you move away. This was painted with ink but I would like to use oils on a large canvas, maybe a series of paintings.
These are the original images below they have been edited to show higher contrast.