The Paintings in my exhibit are based on scenes of my life - places I have frequented enough to fully observe and experience.
Inspired by wandering the museums and churches throughout Europe, I came across the concept for this show. As an Art History major at Pratt Institute, I have seen so many paintings in books and slides and the experience of these images becomes stale due to the forced dimensions of the books or the screen. It was not until I was able to experience these magnificient works in person that I understood the true beauty and immensity of some of these masterpieces.
While standing in front of Tintoretto's The Last Supper in the chancel of San Giorgio Maggiore, the inspiration hit me. Tintoretto's painting, which measured roughly 19 feet by 12 feet, showed the same sense of forced space and narrative that I am driven to portray in my own works of art. The tones of the painting, along with the strong contrasts caused by the two sources of light in a dark room, create a mood that captures the essence of the narrative. Seeing this painting precluded my decision and ambition to work in this immense size - something rarely seen today.
The size of the paintings create several layers of perception of the work. The viewer will step into the room, or see a painting from afar and be shocked by the sheer size of the work. As the viewer moves closer, he or she will start to read the narrative and understand the composition. Seen closer, one views the complexity of the detail and in some cases the simplicity.
My next moment of inspiration came when I turned around in the chancel and was able to view the painting, which is seen less in the art history books - Tintoretto's The Gathering of the Manna. This work is also important, because it is placed in the room to balance The Last Supper. Roughly the same size, Tintoretto used the same earthy tones as in The Last Supper, but the narrative takes place outside, allowing for a lighter feeling providing the perfect contrast for the heavy darks in The Last Supper.
My exhibit also tries to capture some of that balance. The six paintings fill the space appropriately; however, they are also meant to give the space a sense of balance. My hope is for the fiewer to be pulled into one painting and then realize that he or she is surrounded by the other large works. Next, the vierwer might be drawn to a painting across the room, much like my experience in San Giorgio Maggiore, as well as many of the museums and other churches I visited around Europe