Slade 2012

Virginia Hartnall

Virginia Hartnall, The Star Factory Virginia Hartnall, Building the Ivory Tower, 2012 Virginia Hartnall, Building the Ivory Tower, 2012 Virginia Hartnall, The Star Miners, 2012 Virginia Hartnall, Building the Ivory Tower, 2012

The Star Factory, 2012, egg tempera on gesso board, 20 x 26cm
Building The Ivory Tower, 2012, egg tempera on gesso board, 20 x 26cm
The Minotaur, 2012, egg tempera on gesso board, 20 x 26cm
The Star Miners, 2012, egg tempera on gesso board, 20 x 26cm
Starlight, 2012, egg tempera on gesso board, 20 x 26cm

Creation.
The beginning.

First there must be light.
Light lets us see, it sets a mood.
It is the long shadows of a Georgio de Chirico painting
Or the solitude of Hopper’s Early Sunday Morning.

Next comes the sky:
The sky over Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows,
And the bloody sunset of Munch’s Scream:
A symbol ingrained on the collective psyche showing that death is near.

After there is land:
The land shrivelled beneath the sky in the bleakest moors of Thomas Hardy.
A landscape is a character
With craters for eyes and trees for fingers.

Then there is time:
A season,
Day passing into night
Or the twist of a head.
Shown as a snapshot, a sequence, a series,
The repeated forms of Duchamp’s Nude Descending a staircase.

But what is a setting without people?
A man and a woman.
How can we read them?
The tragic faces of William Blake.
Bodies gesturing like Shakespearian actors.
Costumes. Masks. Props.

The middle.

We watch them through that window of the picture plane.
Voyeurs.
Like the opening of a book or the opening of a theatre curtain
We choose whether to enter their world.
Like Gerald in E. Nesbit’s Enchanted Castle
We have to decide whether to explore,
To believe.

The end.

The scene is set and we wait for something to happen.

Destruction

The story ends
And the artist puts down
The brush. The pen. The mask.

We close the book.
The curtains draw to a close.
“The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve.”

Dali’s clocks stop melting,
When one rings an alarm,
And a girl calls:
“Wake up, Alice”
It was all a dream.

So we open our eyes,
Leave the theatre,
Walk away.
And the bright lights blind us
For a second
Then,

Reality.

virginiahartnall.tumblr.com

vhartnall@gmail.com