University of Tasmania
whole_BrookesWayneAnthony2003_thesis.pdf (23.52 MB)

Visual virtuosity : contemporary quadratura painting : an allegory of a portrait

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posted on 2023-05-26, 23:37 authored by Brookes, WA
This research project generates a body of work, which represents an investigation into the physical, allegorical and historical narratives of Quadratura Painting in terms of motif, genre and technical prowess. Specifically, it attempts to address the evolution of issues associated with the visual virtuosity of objects within a pictorial space and it's affiliation with contemporary Realist painting. It examines the physical apotheosis of ornament and attempts to establish a comparative relationship between painting, object and illusionistic space. While touching on the precedent of Hyper-realism and the Neo-Baroque, it addresses the integrity of obsession and the indolent fortitude of an abandoned schema gone ballistic. This project also attempts to rein in the concept of disembodiment as self-portraiture and the re-emergence of the image as an ocular gush, specifically the \The Wow Factor\". This paper has a direct correlation to the body of work. It is an instruction kit that expurgates the vortex of peripheral issues that have plagued this project from its inception and gives it some order of sequence. While the project began as an historical anecdote of portraiture the final images of the lavish interior of The Napoleon III apartments in The Louvre are a translation of this experience and have become a distillation of self image. The paintings are constructed as hybrids of the original source and emerge as physical evidence of subjective witness. They are an examination of new breath in the old carcass of portraiture and much like the infamous Professor Gunther von Hagens with his \"Korperwelten\" cadaver carnival; the works are that of a plastic surgeon. They balance between a reconstruction of a Baroque archetype with a Neo-Classicist emblematic makeover and the showgirl closet of Liberace. All the images generated within this project are direct cosmetic appliances derived from endless self-examination and exist because of a prolonged reverence for the history of painting and the extant experience of these images. Much has been made of the lingering demise of painting. Originally this fear was initiated in the Nineteenth century by the onslaught of photography. Indeed Daguerre's belief that his invention would 'give a new impulse to the arts' was quickly followed by Turner's resolve that \"This is the end of Art\". It is often referred to as a relic with more recent criticism suggesting that painting is an anachronism failing the brief of 'a new art for a new century'. While this sounds like a familiar echo it has been the manifesto of artists and critics who believe in vapour spent objects or the breathless heights of digital decoupage. While this emerges as \"cutting edge\" a more comforting biopsy appears to exist between factions of taste who recognise the absurdity of assigning mortality to physical disciplines. In this respect nothing is actually dead it's merely ignored. The quintessence of practise must be visual or sensory sensation authorship the signature and the physical participation of the conjurer. If anything has been absorbed from post-modernist ethos it is the belief that the past will become future again in a loaded Mannerist fragment that turns revolution a full circle and empowers the new exemplar with profundity. The Zeitgeist suggests that for the moment painting is back with renewed Realist vigour but its genealogy contains new chromosomal material. It has had to become a hybrid because of decades of disrespect. Beneath all of this is the fundamental suggestion that painting is alchemy with its very essence being the pure inscription of the artist's gesture will and body. In this respect the act of translating any reality be it truth or invention through the transmogrified body of paint establishes a hypostasis synopsis; life does exist in the frozen skin. The rationale of ego and self is perpetually linked to the outcome of this experience. The very substance of paint then becomes a pool of reflection allowing the painter to drag out possibly submerged issues about themselves and record them within the material. The painter is the painting and that is the allegory of painting. Self-portraiture then is a perpetual cycle and perhaps all painting is self-portraiture. The work in this project addresses the specifics of genre and it is therefore critical to audit its context within the developmental factions of European and American painting. In order to begin an examination of a contemporary status for authoritative illusionists it is essential to be immersed within the Italian Quadraturisti with it's paraphrase of the French trompe l'oeil; the agony of visual truth as articulated by the Flemish School and its convoluted trajectory within American Realism. There is also a need to address the relationship between wall and ceiling painting 'the big picture and the anthropological context of ornament. In this way I believe I may conciliate my own position within the schema of things."


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Copyright 2003 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references.

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