Sunday, 24 May 2015

Work in Progress: Danse Macabre

Selfie - May 2015, working on Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre - showing the first stages of painting. Below is the first layer of slip, black, over the terracotta ground of the pot. Below that is a working drawing and one of the photographs from which the drawing was, in part, adapted.

Peter Paul Rubens, 'Fall of the Damned,' British Museum

Mark Gertler, Merry-Go-Round, 1961, Tate Britain

Danse Macabre is the title for the pot in progress pictured here. It takes the Roundabout from Nightwalker  - and one of the plates in Land Sea and Sky section on my website - and makes that the central image and form of the pot. Danse Macabre is the IS pot. Nightwalker depicts a fairground as a religious theme park: the roundabout has Pussy Riot on its roof; the Ukrainian feminist group Femen is taking down the crucifix outside the orthodox Cathedral in Kiev; the Vatican staircase has become the helter skelter, and the Shia mosque in North London - once a Bingo hall - is back in its rightful place, a ghost train in a fairground. In front of the roundabout, at the theme part entrance, Anjem Choudhary has morphed into a transvestite stripper and is cavorting among pink bubbles. You can see more pictures and read more about Nightwalker here. 

Nightwalker is a satire, to some extent, but a mild one. Danse Macabre will be a much more focused attack. I have been looking at Mark Gertler's 1916 Merry-Go-Round, a satire on WWI, and at Peter Paul Rubens' Fall of the Damned. Aside from that I have been watching what goes on around me and that, as ever, provides most of my visual material for painting on the pots. Danse Macabre is the first of a trio of related pots, the other two will be Harpies and Handmaidens, and Total Eclipse of the Prophet or Tout est Perdu. The latter will be my memorial to Charlie Hebdo.