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Portfolio / Painting in Congruities

The title of this exhibition, ‘Painting in Congruities’ is a play on words that allows multiple interpretations. I have brought together various projects and strands of work that initially may appear to have little in common. I wanted to imply some ambiguity in the attempt to reconcile different approaches to painting and the search for common themes, preoccupations and formal elements or methods that may be both divergent and convergent, contradictory and complementary. It may also imply that the act of painting itself, with its slow and complex processes, is somehow at odds with a world in which there is deluge of instant electronic images and yet still be profoundly relevant.

Painting is usually a solitary, contemplative process so the portrait painting project involving willing models prepared to commit to several short sittings over a sometimes long periods of time led to the title ‘Dialogues’ which suggests a formal yet friendly relationship with another person and an interaction that is collaborative.

Working from direct observation of a living model in oil on canvas, often involving breaks for food and conversation, is very different to working from inanimate objects and secondary sources including flat photographs, crumpled pieces of paper, shells, feathers or butterflies painting with egg tempera, acrylic, inks and gold leaf on paper or wood. The model’s written statements about the experience which hang next to their portraits places the viewer directly into this interaction in a more dynamic way.

I have included several approaches to painting in the gallery. There are some large horizontal forest scenes based on 360 degree panoramic collaged photographs from the series ‘Silva’ painted in a direct impasto technique with oil paint. Some trompe l’ oeil old master ‘fakes and forgeries’ with equally ‘fake’ painted collage elements that are re-workings of earlier experiments in old master techniques. Paintings of family photographs as trompe l’ oeil still life objects from the series ‘Memory and Metaphor’ as well as some older ‘Metaphysical’ paintings and a new series of paintings on wood and card, called ‘Emblemata’ using a mixture of egg tempera, inks, silverpoint, and gold leaf that explore ideas about pictorial illusions and processes, the senses, perception and the transience of time.

Metamorphoses Paintings & Drawings. All work featured in this portfolio is created by and © Alan Mitchell 2009. Website created by Op45.