Friday, 16 March 2012
Final Piece for self inniated project
This art project started out with a visit to the National Gallery's 'Devoition by Design: Italian Altar pieces before 1500' . Rather than treating the altarpieces as works of art, and treating the exhibition like any other, the gallery was transformed into an Italian Renaissance church, reminding us that these pictures were originally hung in the most sacred places above the altar. Changing the atmosphere of a gallery immediately changed the perception of the hanging pieces; no longer did I see these as pieces of art, but real images of devotion and sacrifice.
I was looking at whether the religious symbol had become so commercialized that its use in art is simply aesthetic, or whether by using religious symbols in modern patterns and prints it does, in fact keep religion and history alive. Even the skull, once used as a memento mori, looking towards the afterlife as something greater than mortal life on earth, is now in the 21st century used in high fashion, worn as accessories in Alexander McQueen scarves and rings.
This project spanned from exploring pattern and fashion textiles on flat canvas, to questioning religion, to the ideals of the American dream. I originally created my own religious motif, photographing little bits and bobs I could find around the house, jewellery, dried leaves, a hamsa (palm shaped symbol used in Judaism and Islam), spray painting these items gold, photographing them, collaging them together, and ultimately creating what looks like a sacred coat of arms. I screen printed this onto the canvas, surrounded by images of money, wealth, consumerism, animals, and fashion figures. Realism meets abstraction and colour meets line. The nude figures, one with flowers printed onto her front, oozes lust, beauty and sexiness, along with the dangers of consumerism and fashion.
The piece subverts beauty, seducing the viewer with its sickly sweet colours and neon pinks, while really giving a clear perspectibe of the rise of materialism and perhaps the fall of religion.