Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Maria Gunning Countess of Coventry

"Deadly Coral"

I love the Wallace Collection. I bought a book for a pound there the other week, really thick and it's a catalogue of all of it's miniatures.

Over Easter I researched some of the women in the miniatures, purely out of my own sad curiousity.

Some of the lives these women had were so incredible, incredibly amazing and for some, incredibly tragic.

One that stuck out for me was The Countess of Coventry Maria Gunning. From a poor family, her and her sister set out to be actresses. In October 1748 the beautiful sister's were invited to a ball at Dublin Castle. With no suitable attire they borrowed some frocks off a theatre, the costumes for Lady Macbeth and Juliet. This party proved important, Maria's sister got them a pension. They then became celebrities and social beauties.

Maria married the 6th Earl of Coventry eventually, becoming the Countess. For the honeymoon the couple travelled around Europe, including Paris. On the trip her new husband refused to let her wear heavy rouge make-up, which was very much in vogue in the capital at that time, he even tried to rub it off with a hankie when she wore it to dinner one night.

When they returned, Maria apparently continued to wear vast amounts of make-up heavily, because it was stylish. She died aged 27, of led poisoning from the cosmetics, earning her the title of "Victim of cosmetics" among society circles.

She's going to be the centre piece of my exhibition with coral red poured onto her. Titled "Deadly Coral" I'm hoping it will tie the idea of poison mentally and physically with cosmetics.

The Start...

So I've started this blog so that I can chart, for myself and others, what it takes to do a Fine Art Degree Show....

The degree show proposal is awaiting tutor approval as we speak.... *cripes* Here is the proposal:

Three large works on board. Two of them will be adapted large scale poster works, each poster measures approximately 0.5m x 1.5m. These will be large shop beauty/cosmetics adverts with house gloss paint poured onto them after a treatment below of PVA. In between these two works, will be a large scale photocopy (measuring approx 0.5m x 1m) of Maria Gunning Countess of Coventry, the photocopy will be of a print of a miniature of her from The Wallace Collection. The miniature is set in an ornate frame which will also be in the photocopy. The large photocopy image will be backed onto a jigsaw cut board. The other images will be on rectangular board. All on a beta hanging system. The colours of the house gloss paint will be coral red, baby turquoise and baby lilac.

Over Easter I did some new stuff which may or may not feature in the final degree show, I was working with the idea of "controlled destruction" something that was starting to creep into the work.

Ok so, this work below took about 3 days of a tedious but pretty satisfying process, tiny holes into a magazine advert for a fashion house. I was trying to obliterate everything but the bits I noticed and created anxiety and pleasure for me.

This was the start of it, and the effect of the white dots is actually light shining through the holes from a light source.

Will post more images of the finished and utterly obliterated piece when I find a bad ass lightbox.

This idea came from messing about with this:

Both these pieces led me to the idea that I am eating away at the images that eat away at me.