Vanitas n.02; new work in progress intended for Maidstone Museum exhibition in Nov…

Vanitas – a historical style of painting bringing together objects that symbolise the inevitability death, the transience of life, and the vanity of achievements or pleasures. Their goal – to ask the viewer to consider their own mortality and repent. Visual reference: Petrus Schotanus ‘Vanitas, Still Life with a Globe’.

Claire Manning, 'Vanitas n.02', work in progress
Claire Manning, ‘Vanitas n.02’, work in progress

My piece is made from appropriated images collected from contemporary fashion magazines, physically cut out then turned into a digital collage. Motivations for my image choices:

Passive, perfect female images are disrupted by division, denying an assertive gaze possession of a whole, complete form

Jewellery, accessories, clothes and birds of prey refer to wealth and power

A wristwatch and flowers reference transience and death

Wall art symbolises arts and science

Succulent plants spilling out of a vase hint at resurrection and eternal life

Objects tumble in disarray suggestive of the eventual overthrow of the achievements they represent

What I’ve made has some perspectival accuracy but ultimately is somewhat Surrealist. So far the base image (above) is composed but needs printing, mounting and painting. My intentions with the painting stage is to further mar the perfection of the image offered and to relinquish control and deliver chance. Here are the final results.

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