Thursday, 26 January 2017

Tabletop town 2011 ( with a nod towards Dr Caligari )

I'm fascinated by the film The cabinet of Dr Caligari , if you haven't seen it already stop reading this and go and watch it , its in a number of places online , you can see it here or alternatively you could download it from the internet archive here .

I'd started watching it roughly the same time I'd started painting still life again in 2008 , later on after looking at the paintings of De Chirico it struck me that I could build my own tabletop towns in a manner similar to the stage sets in Dr Caligari , And light them in a similar way , but my towns would be empty , to reflect what was happening around me , the lack of bustle in towns, empty shops quieter roads , the change in 2009 to 2010 Ireland was that dramatic, it was almost like the country had hidden itself away . So after a few earlier experiments with small red houses and one white house ( also see Angelheart )

Wolf at the door

I built a small village or town twisted and angled like the streets in Dr Caligari but empty .

Ghost town 1

Ghost Town 2

Photograph of models made for paintings
And deliberately painted them in near black and white , though the shades are much more subtle than that , involving greens and umbers and reds . Then I wondered to myself if I could reconstruct the type of house I grew up in . ( these were all made in the garage of my girlfriends house which I took over as a temporary studio whilst visiting her ) 

Fifteenth step
 And what if at night the houses crowded round with those sleeping inside and something surreal or strange happened but nobody opened their curtains after the hush of midnight had occured . Again referencing De Chirico's empty streets , shadows and lone statues . ( the streets and the square were composited using the gimp from photographs I'd taken of the houses , I had to continue them and squash them together through layering and cut and paste )

That we should startle the empty streets
There is one more painting in this sequence but it remains to this day unfinished

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