Enlightenment for Sale


Following up from my last blog entry I completed the body of work in the previous painting unit. My concept changed somewhat however (as is typical for practicing artists) resulting in work that addresses a serious issue with humour and absurdity. This was my Statement of Intent:

My work will address the theme of Light with a series of oil paintings loosely done in the style of chiaroscuro to evoke questions surrounding the darker nature of so-called ‘enlightenment’ associated with the New Age / Pagan movement.  I chose chiaroscuro, typically dark dramatic paintings, to juxtapose the ‘love and light’ approach of New Age spirituality in an attempt to draw attention to this underbelly of the movement; the appropriation and subversion of spirituality. This will be a focus on the exploitation of people seeking spiritual enlightenment by individuals who have commercialised spirituality, making it a consumer commodity, to lure people with false promises and absurd claims whilst motivated only by money.

I intend to depict objects that typically would be found on a Pagan altar to represent the elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air. However, to draw attention to the consumeristic angle of the New Age movement these sacred objects will be replaced with mass produced supermarket products instead. The labels on these products will reflect the absurdity and hilarity of claims made by self-professed Gurus who exploit spiritual seekers. Oil paints as my medium of choice is a connection to the classical as well as to the longevity of the old Pagan religions. Using humour I hope to draw attention to the seriousness of spiritual exploitation by the financially motivated whilst engaging the viewer in a lighthearted manner.

water

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Water. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.

earthAnndelize Graf. 2018. Earth. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.
fire

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Fire. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.

air

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Air. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.

guru

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Trust me, I’m a Guru. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 100×100 cm.

 

Behind Lace


A few weeks ago I was working on an art project that involved subverting an architectural structure in a way that changes its original meaning. The building I focussed on was an old Victorian theatre (built in 1876) which I decided to conceal behind lace. The concept and how I came to deciding on my idea of subversion is drawn-out, so I won’t go into detail, but I took clues from the Victorian era (hence the lace) as well as from the original purpose of the building (to entertain) which I turned around into something hidden from view rather than exposed. This idea was informed by the decayed and neglected condition that the building is in now.

Whilst on site I took many photographs and spent hours absorbing the frayed and forgotten energies of the place; I discovered and observed cracks and holes in walls floors and other surfaces that became ‘peep holes’ through which I could see glimpses of its history. This eventually developed into a theme of concealment through which to subvert the historical meaning of the building.

I might write more in a later post on the different stages of my process, but for now here is one of the outcomes; homage to what was once a vibrant architectural structure built to entertain thousands of people in an age gone by. An old theatre that now echoes silence; forgotten and hidden from view amongst the dust and debris.