Project One – Confluence
This project centres around the idea of confluence – the meeting and running together of two or more things. Using the metaphor of a river confluence (a place where two rivers meet and begin flowing together), I will explore various historical “confluences”, wherein certain natural and human-engineered forces came together and resulted in disasters and/or personal tragedies involving water. I intend to create a confluence with the individual paintings themselves by weaving two or more stories together. The paintings will include aspects of history, biography, autobiography, mythology, symbolism, psychology, and philosophy related to water.
Aims and Objectives
I have the following aims for Project One:
- To develop and produce of series of figurative paintings with a strong narrative component.
- Research and select historic, water-related disasters/tragedies that were a result of a natural and/or human-made confluence.
- Within the selected historic disasters/tragedies, tell the stories of people who died as a result, specifically through drowning.
- Produce a series of paintings that realise the above aims.
I have 6 objectives I intend to work towards in order to achieve my aims. I will work on some of these objectives concurrently, and some consecutively.
My objective regarding colour is to develop a pallet that, while it may alter from painting to painting, will connect the individual paintings in a single body of work. The colours will be selected to communicate the emotion of a given painting. The principal colour for the paintings will be green.
My intention is to create dynamic and expressive underpaintings/backgrounds that provide depth and a richness to the paintings.
I want to develop my figures and include them in the paintings, to aid in the narrative aspect of a given painting. As with the colour selection, I want the figures to convey the emotional resonance of a given painting.
I want to include pockets of intricate patterns/detail to the paintings, that draw the viewer in and communicate aspects of the given stories upon closer inspection..
I want to pay close attention to the composition of the paintings, to bring a sense of movement and dynamism to them, which I hope will bring both a strong emotional resonance to the paintings, as well as aid in the communication of a given narrative/s.
Until now, I have only made small figurative/narrative paintings. So, my final objective is to make them larger, to enable the viewer to become immersed in emotion and narrative of a given painting.
The paintings I intend to produce can most aptly be termed contemporary figurative history paintings, and will incorporate a number of established painting styles, such as expressionism and abstraction.
For inspiration, I am looking at the work of the following contemporary figurative painters.
del Kathryn Barton
Maryclare Foá (R&F Mo)
As the project centres on actual historic events, I will use the following resources to research the relevant events:
- Newspaper articles
- Inquest records
- Family history records – such as census etc.
I will keep both digital and/or hard copies of all documents and images I gather from my research.
Once I have selected a particular story, I will begin the process outlined in my above objectives:
- Selecting and mixing the desired palette.
- Paint underpainting/background.
- Paint objects and figures.
- Add intricate patterns and details.
Initially, I will paint small works on paper, to decide the composition and figurative elements I want a given painting to have. I will then gradually size-up the work using progressively larger canvases. Once I become more adept at painting on larger canvases, I hope to be able to forgo the gradual sizing-up process, and go from a small composition/figurative sketch straight to a large canvas.
I am working towards having the first painting complete for the Interim Show in March, however, the final sizing-up phase of the painting may not be achievable by then. After the Interim show, I will continue developing the both paintings and the concept.
The hoped-for outcome is to produce a series of emotionally powerful paintings that tell individual stories regarding the personal cost of water-related disasters/tragedies that were a result of a natural and/or human-made confluence. If successful, the paintings will serve to demonstrate the power of confluence and its role in shaping history and the lives/fates of individuals. Inferred throughout the body of work will the warning of the fate that awaits humanity and individuals due to the natural and human-made confluence of climate-change as it relates to water.
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