Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Painting and Theatre, Light and Dark

When I walk into the Factory it reminds me of the theatre. There's something very dramatic about the broad sweep of the auditorium and the layout of the chairs all facing forward towards the stage.

A few strides from the main door of the church, the centre of Raynes Park is equally theatrical. The wide open space in front of the train station and Starbucks looks set for some kind of event, framed nicely by the backdrop of houses and shops.

Painting and theatre have always enjoyed a mutually inspiring relationship with artists like Degas and Toulouse Lautrec painting behind the scenes at the theatre and painters David Hockney and more recently Jamie Hewlett designing stage set for opera.

Both disciplines employ light and dark as a means to creating a sense of dramatic reality and likewise both are concerned with issues of colour, composition and visual aesthetic to create space and atmosphere.

How might Raynes Park might be used as a kind of backdrop to a painted event? What might that event be? Perhaps the busy comings and goings of commuters, friends meeting and lovers greeting. Perhaps the stage is set for an event of John 3 proportions, where those in Christ as illuminated or alive in contrast to those still in the shadow and dead. Painters have often used light as both a metaphor and a compositional device. Here, I wonder if a late night twilight scene might evoke a sense of the coming return of Jesus and the glory revealed through the light of Christ as the judge of all men. Some remain in the light and embrace it whilst others are exposed in the darkness. Some are in fear and trembling. Others ignorant or in denial. I've never made work with an overtly biblical theme before and rarely seen contemporary art that does it sensitively and credibly... so there's the challenge!

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