Laden light (for Saint Serapion)


Installed at Flowers Gallery, London, 2011

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all works © Lisa Peachey 2015

Each panel 110 x 110cm (install dimensions variable).

Gesso on oak panel with french polish, stained oak panel with french polish, silk crepe satin with ink and rabbit skin glue.

Having made the Due Point watercolours over one winter, I wanted to find a way to move the same sense of light and time into a more sculptural form, in effect to create a still life
in parts.

The watercolours had had a sense of quiet reverie, which I had been considering in relation to religious devotion. Having visited the National Gallery show ‘The Sacred Made Real” many months before, I had been thinking about how those 17th Century Spanish sculptures and paintings held a sense of emotion that perhaps might not be just to do with their content and surrounding narrative, but might also be influenced by their material qualities and the arduous processes in their making. Studying the build up of layer upon layer in the polychrome technique, this seemed to have a currency with previous works, and the integration of the real in terms of cloth solidified with rabbit skin glue size became the departure point for this two-part work.

Coming across Zurburan’s painting of Saint Serapion then gave the work a structure both compositionally and narratively. The composition suggests the frame of the painting supports the weary figure and plays with the balance of the narrative and the real; the chiarascuro is immensely effective, but Zurburan disturbs the illusion by then painting a piece of parchment pinned to the surface of the canvas which throws shadows into the darkness.

The weight of time is shown through the shadows on the wooden floor piece; a stool placed in the studio cast shadows that were recorded in gesso over a month – so both pieces of the work become the support for the a duration shown through light.