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Heaven's above - celestial ceilings : a contemporary paragon of Apotheosis


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Brookes, Wayne Anthony 2009 , 'Heaven's above - celestial ceilings : a contemporary paragon of Apotheosis', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Project seeks to investigate the relationship between the visual virtuosity of
pictorial space and the conjecture it bestows on the spectator. It does so by
scrutinizing the visual, historic and metaphoric attributes of 17 th and 18th century
Quadratura ceiling painting as a speculative implication of self-image. In this way,
the anamorphic canopy of the Apotheosis becomes an allegorical symbol of 'the
process of becoming' or aspiring to 'personal best'.
The role of the ceiling appliance in my work is that of a contained decorative device,
elements of a greater apparatus. These are sutured together as a tapestry of this genus
in order to create an explanatory manifest of my experience of this genre. It is a
collage of an abstracted, faux- realism, where the map of the heavens is pulled from
the 'sotto in su' [up from under] and reinstalled on a conventional axis.
As simulacra of a Catholic or Mythological eternity, the rendering of the Apotheosis,
while being, historically, a flirtation with immortality, re-emerges as accelerated
ocular saturations within the digital era. Its parallel universe within contemporary
practice is the extreme spectacle of Hyper-Maximism occurring within the
'Mondrian in Hyperspace' of Benjamin Edwards, the "Amphetamine Rauschenberg"
of Shepard Fairey, James Rosenquist's propulsion towards media catastrophe, and
the cultural splatter-fest of Joe Coleman together with the Clayton Brothers. The
visual connections of the Apotheosis are also absolutely indexed within the
topographical epilepsy of Stencil Art. The dense, layered surface establishes the
exquisite irony of disproportionate detail being the vehicle by which Realism
becomes abstraction. My work attempts to transcend realism by evoking a sense of virtual hallucination
within a facsimilized vision of Apotheosis and its anti-gravitational transferral. While
the original Counter-Reformation promise was revelation through eloquent artifice, it
was a cross-bred, mercantile version of divine light. The cupola or ceiling became
convincing Evangelic grammar. While it spoke louder than the scriptures, it is a
familiar space and it addresses us directly in the proverbial language of the televisual
world. I weave these Baroque spores of spectacle within the tapestry of
contemporary practice. The major pieces evolved from preliminary appendices of surface, space and illusion.
They largely addressed the notion of the nobility of objects and the relationship
between wall and ceiling. Here the hybrid began to emerge as each work asserted
itself as genuine, given the space they replicated - The Mars Salon (Versailles), the
Graphics Arts Consultation room (Louvre) or the Object'd'Arts Gallery (The Getty
Museum), but the intension was to produce convincing pastiches, that summarised
the adventure.
These early works evolved into major forensic dissections based on the husks of the
St Nicholas Cathedral in Prague and the II Gesu in Rome. Their architectural
structures served as a larder or scaffold into which alternative anamorphic devices
and interior apparatus could be transplanted. The fusion of alternative fresco schemas
and interior manifests create a collaboration between decorative fetish and a desire
for spectacle. The visual catharsis of these spaces is the paragon of my personal
apotheosis, and ultimately, my portrait.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Brookes, Wayne Anthony
Keywords: Mural painting and decoration, Baroque, Decoration and ornament, Baroque
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2009 the Author

Additional Information:

Available for library use only and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references

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