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


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Brookes, Wayne Anthony 2003 , 'Visual virtuosity : contemporary quadratura painting : an allegory of a portrait', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Brookes, Wayne Anthony
Keywords: Painting
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

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).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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