Created originally as a site specific artwork submitted to an exhibition in Massa, Tuscany, this work was inspired by my research and discovery of the beautiful ancient frescoes decorating Etruscan tomb sites in the region. One in particular in Tarquinia outside Rome featured two beautiful Leopards who guarded the tomb and were also indicative of the status of it’s inhabitant.
I was intrigued as this indicated that ancient civilisations were already prizing these beautiful wild creatures – probably in northern Africa. Both for their ferocity and also for their exotic pelts and other animal products. My painting in two parts (diptych) is a contemporary commentary about these same qualities but through the lens of the rapidly diminishing Leopard habitats and numbers in the wild. They face each other, both in a protective, attacking stance. Both guardians but also defending their own position in the natural world.
My painting (oil on silver-leafed wood panels) sits between figuration and abstraction, a personal and intuitive language which builds up layers and veils of transparent paint glaze and mark making. Building bones, muscle, skin, features and then pushing back the surface by obliterating and repainting - so that the form is an emergence rather than depiction. It is in the end an emotional response to the subjects, both decorative and celebratory. I love the idea that my works could be seen like the ancient frescos and that in some small way, I communicate with those ancient artists as well as speaking directly with my contemporary audience.
Dimensions: 100cm x 80cm (x2) i.e. 2m overall length, 5cm depth.
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