|Harry Kent, Whiteley in Ultramarine|
oil and acrylic on canvas, 76x102cm
Brett Whiteley loved Windsor & Newton Ultramarine.
In some of his most iconic paintings one drowns in a Sydney Harbours of blue, looking for splashes of white - a yacht, a bird, a palm - on which to cling so that, Alice-like, we aren't sucked down into some surreal world.
I finally feel ready to move onto oils after my charcoals and inks in search of a vision of Brett . So this image is based on my Brett Whiteley in lino block prints [here].
It is actually a large monoprint with some subsequent adjustments by brush and solvents..
Some days earlier i made a series of 16 monoprints in oil on A3 paper. They are intended to be viewed as a single work. I haven't been able to photograph and blog the set because of the danger of smudging the paint when handing 16 pieces at a time. And so i am posting this painting first although it follows on from them.
The bottom half of the background is actually Prussian Blue and i wanted the flame-haired Brett (following on from my Brett Whiteley sees red set below) to be be set against the darkness, both standing out against it and progressively being swallowed by it. Foremost in my mind was the tale of the passionate Aussie larrikin artist reduced to isolation and depression.
I crowded the head into bottom right corner, seeking a sense of 'being squeezed out the picture', of 'everything crowding in', of 'struggling to remain in the frame' of fame.
It is so hard to keep your flame burning when you are no longer flavour of the month.
|close-up of print and brush marks|
This effect is heightened by the size of the work. While not huge, nevertheless a height of over a metre gives it a decided presence.