March 8th, 2013

piranha - fire.

Final Project in Oil Painting

My oil painting class will be over in just a couple of weeks, and I still have to start - and finish - a third painting.  So even though I hate my self-portrait, and would like nothing better than to scrape the canvas clean and start anew, I've put it aside so that I can focus on the new painting.

The final assignment is to take an existing oil painting - preferable one that my teacher is familiar with, just to make it easier on everyone - and select a detail to blow up and recreate.  After doing that, we are to "update" the painting so that it has meaning and relevance to the 21st century.  Makes sense - it seems like so much contemporary art is about appropriation, anyway.  Heck, Jonathon Keats proposed in his book Forged that it's a defining characteristic of work produced today.

So after thinking about the project and coming up with nothing fresh or entertaining, I decided to use Fuseli's The Nightmare as my base work.  I'll be zooming in on the woman's face and left arm, with just enough empty space above her so that I can slip something terrible squatting on her stomach.  Then, I'll dress her up as Columbia and drop a Chinese dragon on top of her.  Because the dragon represents China and Columbia represents America and China is gaining dominance over a weakening America (or at least we fear it will) and YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE??  Political!  Allegorical!  Shove it down your throat symbolism!

Yeah, I'm not exactly loving it either, but I don't really love this assignment so we'll just do the painting, take the grade and then we'll move on to better things.