Monday, 25 June 2018

True Colours

Sometimes, it can take quite a while for a picture to work out what it wants to be, to find its "truth". Assuming that it ever does, and that there is such a thing. As I have pointed out before, I go through multiple iterations, re-workings, and cannibalizations of these photo-collages, most of which, obviously, don't appear in this blog. Pretty much everything is a "work in progress". As I recently read Ed Ruscha (I think) quoted as saying: "I never really finish a painting, I am simply eventually dragged away from it..."

In this case, for example, what was originally a minor element in the first of the two "Babylon" images in the previous post – a border I made to set off the central elements – became more prominent in the second. Seen as a whole, I realised it made a fine background, especially when I had added some texture to make it look woven. The mosaic owl and the moon (both extracted from other previous collages) seemed to make something more of the tree branches and add atmosphere. I then decided to reverse the lion, remove the brick wall (the side panels had already gone), and I also decided to make a virtue of a rather obvious join in that background, and placed a patched "seam" over it. That resulted in the second "Babylon" composite.

It then seemed to me that the "background" had more potential as a picture in its own right. So I took away the Ishtar Gate lion altogether that had started off the whole process, rather like removing the scaffolding from a completed structure. The owl had to go, too, but the moon and golden branches had become an essential part of the whole. But it still needed something. Bats, maybe? And maybe I could make some subtle use of that join? In the process it became not so much the originally-intended triptych, as what we might call a sesquitych (hemioliotych?) [1] ... So, here we have yet another version, only tenuously related to the first. The "truth" of it may or may not be getting closer – there's something good in there, I'm sure – but I'm having fun, trying to find out. And, unlike Ed or whoever it was, there's nobody waiting impatiently to drag me away from the thing so they can put a price tag on it.

1. That is, a "one and a half  panels" picture, using either a mixed Latin/Greek or a pure Greek etymology. Both of which are unique coinages, as far as I can see: so you literally read it here first.

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