Re-Creations for Museums, Galleries and Festivals
Based on a democratic version of a 15th Century painting workshop, myself and my assistants travel through art history re-creating iconic paintings with the visitors to the museum, gallery or festival by inviting them to paint a square on a canvas in a collaborative performance.
PROCEEDURE: The image is divided up using a grid system, and the composition is drawn out in the studio or on site depending on the scale of the painting. When on site, each member of the public is invited to paint one square each so the final image is made up of hundreds of individual styles. I am fascinated by the crowds which gather when an artist is making a copy in the National Gallery or indeed when anyone is painting in public and aim to invite onlookers to take part in this alchemical process. I am interested in opening up the relationship between the artist and audience and blurring the boundaries between amateur and professional by inviting anyone to paint.
EQUIPMENT: The set up is basically an easel, a table with palettes, oil paints and chairs for observers. Projects can run over one day or a consecutive period of days, depending on the size of the painting to be recreated.
AIM: The aim is to re-create the painting as closely as possible but due to the variety of colour perception, skill and patience of the participants, this is almost impossible and it becomes an interpretation. The beauty of the project lies in its imperfections. The finished painting has the quality of a visual Chinese whisper or a fragmented memory.
The work arose out of the idea to explore a sense of “egolessness” in painting. Usually a painter will spend hours in a studio producing works which are identifiable as his/hers. They are then sold and highly prized for their individual style. I wondered what would happen if I invited other people to paint my paintings with me. I would provide the skeleton in the under drawing and divide the image into a grid as the Old Masters did. I then researched Old Master workshops and was surprised to find that the some of the Old Masters didn’t actually paint all their pictures, they had assistants. The idea formed that I would too have assistants but they would all paint one square each and all be credited in a democratic way.
My aim is to create a whole gallery of recreations, a kind of alternative collection of Old Masters where each work was created by “ordinary people”. Although no one can doubt the power, skill and mystique of the Old Masters, especially as many ancient techniques are now lost to us, the work I make in collaboration both pays homage to and pokes fun at them. Although made from a patchwork of styles and talent the end result can often be dazzling.
“I like the idea of demystifying the process of oil painting, opening it up so that anyone can have a go. Using an ‘Old Master’ gives a sense of achievement to participants and also questions the ideas of authorship, genius and style by fragmenting the image and juxtaposing the ‘handwriting’ of many painters. It is also interesting to transform the normally solitary, private activity of the painter into a communal, public one.
Each projected is budgeted individually according to the scale of the painting and the length of project.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further details