Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Environments Used in CLAY CONTINENT (Part 2)








Lets talk about these two paintings. In both of them we see very similar environments with very intriguing variations. I'll start with the vertical stripes, in the first painting, they appear to be between the spectator and the figure almost like the bars of a cage, but where do they start, where do they end? One could posit that the vertical shapes are the result of light passing through a filter or gobo, but the white paint has to my eye more weight to it than that. This is another example of liminal space or ambiguity, irrefutable yet undefined, that Bacon uses as environment, and that adds to the sense of the piece (for me the sense of mystery mixed with dread). I am hoping that CLAY CONTINENT can effectively create these types of environments and that they serve intriguing spectacle during the performance.

In the second painting we have the same vertical stripes but this time more grounded, more defined. One can see that they are the result of light hitting a curtain. You can see the hooks, the rings, the rod. Can we combine the motif from both paintings so that we get something solid like in the second painting but also lifted into the foreground like in the first? Perhaps a clear plastic curtain as well as side?

Another shared motif is the downward curving arch in the lower third of both paintings. The grounded image versus the liminal image is reversed though. It is the second painting that has more ambiguity this time. The curvature could be a barrier separating the spectator from the figure. It could be a line of caulk scratched onto the ground, but even the ground itself is hard to define in the painting. Bacon's technique appears to make the surface here translucent again as if looking through a plastic sheet of film. There is a shorter second arc as well above the first that floats ill defined on the stage left side of the canvas. Then in the first painting we see similar shape but more defined. Again it appears to be a curtain and rod sort of construction but here we have individual strips of fabric connected in single rings spread out in multiple directions. But then in front of that specific grounded element are angular white lines perhaps an another barrier or they connected to the lines either behind or beneath the figure.

4 comments:

Tony said...

On thing that worked for me--god knows how I came up with it, or how it actually worked--was to shoot light straight down at a small tray of water that reflected it back up creating a curtain of sorts out of light. A little smoke or haze and it turned into a kinda force field curtain that came and went as needed.

(Used water cause the mirror first draft broke when it was stepped on.)

Devilvet said...

I have used clear plastic paint drops as curtains with side lighting. Just long wide ones. I'm thinking about using multiple thinner ones maybe less transparent...dont know. There will definately be some experimentation.

RLewis said...

The vertical stripes in first painting seems to have a distancing effect, because they seem so much to be between us and the image. Whereas the second seems to have the red stripes above both in front and behind the image. But maybe I'm not seeing it clearly. Having plastic or light beems between me (viewer) and the image (performer) should have a distancing effect that some folks like (they're at every Foreman show i see). But I want to get inside it more. Rather than having the performer step through, around or otherwise break the divider, I want to do that. Can I walk through the veritical lines and into the world of the image to view the perfomance? Can we all (audience)? It makes me think of a recent show in nyc called Hell House, I think. I didn't see it, but gathered that we step into the painting rather than the performers step out of one.

Devilvet said...

Ralph, so interesting that you would say that about the spectator breaking through. I remember that first production where there were a handful of chairs, but the audience for the most part had to move through the space, had to move from one end of the basement to the other just to proceed to the next installation.

In the subsequent productions we had incredibly intimate spaces, but still a basic proscenium paradigm.

I need to think about this and where the audience can be...shake up my point of view. Thanks