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Centaur Painting 1

Acrylic Paint on Canvas, May 2000, 75cm x 60cm

Centaur Painting 1

This painting is based upon a photograph taken several months earlier. This, my first painting, captures the 3D form of The Centaur with a surface image that camouflages the form on the 2D surface of the painting. It was a significant step away from using the Picasso imagery and begins a pursuit to define a new set of imagery.
The biggest influence on this work is the collage "Centaur with Eyes" and the gestalt effect from this previous work is played with here.
On first observation, this picture is a simple event with a single image on a plain background. Looking closer, the main image in the painting is more difficult to ‘read’. The overall view of the picture is a simple perspective view with a sculpture on a timber table, complete with dents and pock marks with a plain painted wall in the background.
In contrast the painting of the sculptural form is more in line with the work of Picasso and Cubism. The edges of the form are painted in black and give clues to its overall shape without being definitive. Given my familiarity with the form, for me, it is easily read with the black lines. However, for someone viewing the painting without any knowledge of the sculptural form, a coherent image may not be so easy to see.
Centaur Painting 1 - detail The surface of the 2D panels that make up the Centaur form are painted with a series of flat colour shapes that hint at ‘eyes’ and ‘faces’. There are only four flat colours used (white, blue, maroon and pink), without any shadowing or graduations in tone. This tends to flatten the 3D sculpture to a 2D shape that is simply on the surface of the painting. (As if it is painted on a sheet of clear glass and held in front of the picture rather than a 3D form that stands on a table top.)
Several deliberate distortions are also created in the use of the perspective. For example, at the rear of the form and toward the lower third of the painting, there are three blue ‘eyes’ (see detail at right). The middle one is painted as if it is perpendicular to the canvas looking straight at the viewer, yet it is on a surface of the centaur that is angled away from the viewer. This has the effect of confusing the appearance of the sculpture and further ‘flattening’ the image.



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