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.