Start with the beginning
This is a big painting. The photos can’t really do it justice until you stand in front of it. Its presence is quite overwhelming. But let me assure you that’s in a very good way. It needs plenty of space to be hung and also room to breathe; you also need to have some distance available too as it only really works if you can see it from far away as well as close up. Bear with me, I’m trying to make sense.
Requiem is an unusual piece of art; it sucks you in as you get closer to it – like it has its own gravitational field; and that’s a good thing really seeing as it has reference points from our universe hidden within it. It’s difficult to explain it without sounding like a mad man.
Okay, good. Now we’ve established it’s big and you need space let’s look at the how and why.
Using curves to define boundaries
I like curves a lot. They have a wonderful ability to contain things but also become very expressive in their own right. I like the way they flow and the simplicity of their form. They appear in our natural world with an abundance we seldom realize. Curves are one of nature’s building blocks and appear in our universe in everything from planetary objects to orbits and gravitational waves. The list is endless.
So in Requiem I used them to define the boundaries of the painting and also the flow of movement. The principle of containment is featured heavily and seeks to form matter in to some kind of shape and form – similar to how matter forms in the universe. You could throw this on its head though if you assume that the black areas are the solid objects and the melee in the middle is the debris of space wandering around the void.
When dark becomes light
From chaos comes order and from darkness comes light; principles we have good cause to believe in. However, I don’t really think any of that applies to this painting. I also see the opposite to be true – that from order we eventually descend back into chaos and from light the darkness will eventually come.
If you can get your head around this then all we really are is in a giant repeating loop of birth and death. And I’m talking in universe terms here rather than just you an me as life-forms.
There’s a beautifully elegant, almost poetic simplicity to the ying and yang of existence. Like the binary number system – you’re either a one or a zero, dark or light, big or small. You get the idea.
So why the name Requiem?
A good question with an interesting answer.
Having reduced the complexity of life and the universe to a simple state of continual birth and death it seemed fitting to pay homage to this with an equally grandiose title.
A Requiem is the Catholic mass for the dead; a passage that is read as a soul is presented to God after death. You don’t need to be religious to grasp that this is about a transition of state. From a zero to a one if you prefer to think of it in binary terms.
On its own that’s just great. Job done. Thank you very much. But tell me, have you ever heard Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 (1791)?
The musical connection
It’s a piece of music that’s so profound, moving and epic that it’s on a scale above anything else – and this coming from a devout AC/DC fan! Mozart took the Catholic requiem and turned it into something other-worldly. You have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to it but please give it a go if you can.
I remember performing kata to it whilst training in my martial arts academy. I can’t begin to tell you about that kind of experience. My words will never do it justice. If I could ever feel what it was like to be at one with the universe then these were the times I came close.
I am in no way relating my painting to the greatness of Mozart, the universe or a passage for the dead – that would be ridiculous and totally miss the point. No, instead I’m simply giving a proper name to a painting that’s really just bunch of darkness and light. Let’s not over-complicate things here.
From the big to the small
Still with me? Thanks, I appreciate that.
So the painting has an almost infinite level of detail, mind-bending textures and a colour palette that will give for a lifetime. I’ve gone nuts on it to be honest. It works from all distances and is utterly beautiful in the right lighting conditions. I know I am biased but it really is as good as I say.
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