‘Create, Connect, Converge’

The Spring Show at Avenue Gallery was put together by 23 second year Fine Art and Fine Art: Painting and Drawing students, at the University of Northampton. The exhibition was titled, ‘Create, Connect, Converge,’ and aimed to show a creative connection of a thematic showcase of art work inspired through the non-visual arts. Working on a set date for the show (18th March – 21st March), the students had to fund raise for the show, publicise it, as well as create work. For my role during this process, I was one of the curators of the exhibition and also set up the cake sale for fund raising. As curators we organised the show thematically, as well as harmonising the colours and tones. The show was a huge success, it created a real buzz with a great turnout, including the input of YBA artist, Gavin Turk.

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I worked for six weeks on this 6ft x 6ft oil on canvas painting, that I chose to exhibit for the show, titled, ‘Lady Macbeth: What’s Done cannot be undone, to bed, to bed.’ The primary influence for the painting came from the written play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. The play is believed to have been written between 1603 and 1607 and is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedies. Macbeth tells the story of a brave Scottish general who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the throne for himself. He and Lady Macbeth are then wracked with guilt and paranoia forcing Macbeth to commit more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of arrogance, madness, and death. The play dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political effects produced when evil is chosen as a way to fulfil the ambition for power.   Inspired by Lady Macbeth’s psychological state in Act Five Scene One of the play, wherein Lady Macbeth confesses her guilt shown through her sleepwalking subconscious. She quotes, “What’s done cannot be undone, to bed, to bed,” intensifying her confused state of mind, tangled with guilt for the sins she has pushed her husband to commit.

The painting is intended to convey the chaotic nature of Lady Macbeth’s mind. By using the hair of the female to encompass the majority of the canvas, covering the face, as well as the identity of the female it enhances how chaotic the psychological state of the mind can be. This is mirrored in the format of the image, painted upside down once again heightening the sense of instability, the chaotic nature of the mind. This painting should suggest that there is something quite not right and this is not just a painting of a female with hair over her face, there are much deeper psychological meanings beneath the exterior, another one of Shakespeare’s influences.

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