Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Minotaur

I've been developing an awful lot of picture ideas recently for a competition with the theme of labyrinth. All are based on the Minoan Labyrinth and the myth of the Minotaur. It was a struggle and it took many ideas because I found one that I was happy with on a visual, intellectual, emotional and perhaps more important that all practical level. I thought I'd share a few...

Peace, after the Minotaur. A simple abstracto-surreal (I've just invented that term!) idea. Rejected because it was too simple, yet I still rather like it.

Ariadne, a woman made from a maze. Difficult to stage... it would certainly need a model.

Theseus fighting the Minotaur. Difficult to stage although not impossible. Perhaps difficult to convey the sweeping lines and vaporous form in a full painting.

A complex painting about overcoming the emotions, which was my interpretation of the Minotaur myth. This was appealing in its complexity and intellectual and psychological gravitas, although it is difficult to stage. The figure is holding a hand over a statue of Theseus fighting the Minotaur, a statue built from maze. Frighteningly complex and with a wow factor, but in the the end I judged this too complicated to both stage and comprehend for too many ordinary art viewers.

The Minotaur. If anything this shows a loss of control. I liked this picture but its relationship to the myth was clear only really when seeing other images in the series, and it was rather too sad.

Theseus fighting the Minotaur. One of the first ideas. This seemed too similar to other paintings of mine so I turned it down for that reason.

The Minotaur. More different now, a more abstracted idea about fear of "the inner beast" and sexuality. The female figure at the front is afraid (her expression not apparent from this sketch!) This reminded me of a crucifixion and then Bacon's Three Figures painting, then remarkably so! I like this idea for its originality, simplicity and power and might well paint it. It demands a large canvas though, and no opportunity to show it... so why bother!? I don't think it would win a competition, even though it may deserve to. My judgement of judges and "popular public" taste tells me that much.

Daedalus Supervising the Construction of the Labyrinth. A painting about creative power, this is a complex idea related to earlier paintings of mine (specifically Two Parents Looking at a Very Isolated Child). Here the tiny Daedalus figure is standing on a tower, watching the labyrinth being built by slaves in a cave under the towering castle (shaped like a bull's head). A complex idea which I have decided to paint, but I think too complex for the competition.

The deadline is the end of February and it will take all of that time for me to meet it. Onward!

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