Putting some ideas into practice

Fusion paintings

A busy few days has seen the central panel of the picture mounted in one of the bays of the gallery. Visitors may easily see the progress.

The central panel 8′ x 4′ will form the centre of a larger picture that may take its place on the ceiling of the gallery.

Its subject is the 20th century, leading to the enlightenment that is displayed on the north wall. It is a mystery that men who have behaved so badly can still have any redeeming features at all.

Painting in progress copyright Bernard Barnes

I am planning to add a ring of events surrounding the inner chaos. Events of momentous proportions, the wars, the great characters, the arts and cultural references. My original hurricane shape based on the vortex I am thinking of bearing the multiple images.

Preparatory Sketch copyright Bernard Barnes

Throughout the images I am looking for small bubbles of tranquillity where I can paste a small scene, an aside, a reference that together will all the rest paint a summary of a momentous century.

View of Gallery copyright Bernard Barnes

You may be able to see from these pictures that I have cut boards that fit around the edge of the central picture. It will be made up of pieces that I will fit together on the wall, but which I can work on separately on the easel.

Part of painting copyright Bernard Barnes

I am also beginning to adapt the central image, adding new ideas to fit the theme. I have been experimenting with an optical illusion that can be built out from the surface of the picture to give the illusion of an inner recession.

Here I am interested in suggesting the receding streets of fear exploited by Giorgio de Chirico in the surrealist paintings and it does add to the tension of the work.

This post originally appeared on stjohnshallgallery.com on 24th Sept 2017. It has been given the same date, but was added here on 11th October 2017.

Fusion Paintings

Fusion paintings

Early thoughts and intention concerning this series of paintings jotted down with the intention of becoming a ‘blog’. It began with a group of 4’ x 4’ paintings, four of them to be precise. All of them were painted on plywood sheets of equal thickness. Two of the paintings were portraits and two were depictions of rather horrid things.

Painting copyright Bernard Barnes

The oligarch, a recurring problem

Falling into these two groups, horrid and portraiture, I paired them. I resolved to devise a way of merging them into each other.  

Lizard painting copyright Bernard Barnes

This lizard is eating its young while it is giving birth

I will examine each painting to identify the main ‘fault lines’ of the picture.

I intend to place 2 pictures on top of each other, face up, and cut with a down-cutting jig saw along the ‘Faultline’ of the top board. The boards may be reversed occasionally to enable major ‘faultines’ of each picture gets cut.

The resulting pictures are laid out like a crossword puzzle beside each other on a table.

Both pictures have an identical pattern of cuts and pieces.

If one piece is taken from one picture it must be replaced by the equivalent on the other painting. In this way the continuity of the images are maintained. Gradually, as more and more pieces are exchanged, the two images fuse into each other. A process without end that could always return to the beginning

It is like having two thoughts in the mind at the same time. It is possible, we can all do it. Some people claim to have many voices speaking to them at the same moment. Or the fade between scenes in a cinema film.

I will possibly, at intervals, remove a piece and cut it further. That second piece may become a centre of merging in its own right. The possibilities are endless.

Thus I am proposing a project that relates to time passing and many visitors participating. The public will be invited to make the changes, carefully to observe the rule of ‘like changing with like’, and each change will be digitally recorded. Maybe a screen will play a loop of the development to date, it could be on the website permanently changing. I imagine a sort of frame being built to support a camera over the paintings. Each time a move is made, a button is pressed, and that new image joins the video. There would have to be lights around the pictures also, and a thought to health and safety. In theory this could be an eternally changing pair of paintings, weaving in and out of the two meanings.