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Paul Hodgson, Sharon Lloyd, Philip Clarke and Anne Chaisty: Triptych (After Paris Bordon’s Venetian Women at their Toilet), 2014.
The collaborative work was made in response to Paris Bordone’s Venetian Women at their Toilet. Having chosen the painting by Bordone from the collection of the Scottish National Galleries, the group began by considering ideas about altered perceptions of beauty, body image, race, age and social status, which are inferred within each figure in the painting and by the setting that they occupy. Dr. Jill Burke (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Patricia Allerston (Scottish National Galleries) provided additional information on historical references and the symbolism within the work, allowing the group to considered contemporary ideals of beauty alongside ideals of beauty from the time of the Renaissance.
Subsequent discussions led the group to take different aspects of the original work, to be explored in the studio using models, set design, bespoke clothing, and styling. The three images have been conceived as a triptych – a picture made in three parts and intended to be appreciated together. The triptych format was chosen as a means to present different aspects of the original painting and represent them in separate images that come together to form a single work.
In the left hand image, reference is made to a contemporary beauty salon. Ideas of adornment are central to this image, with numerous bottles of nail varnish appearing like paint on a palette, soon to be applied to the nails of a waiting client.
The central image has a Neo-classical feel – a revival of classical ideals. The figure appears to be self-confident in her adopted position, and her pose is structured and controlled, like the clothes that she’s wearing, and the arrangement of objects around her.
In their positioning and the roles that they play, the two male figures in the right hand image appear to mirror two of the figures from the painting by Bordon. One of the male figures wears translucent clothing, forming a connection to the ornate lace that appears in the left hand image.
References to the original painting have been distilled and spread across the triptych, to create subtle but distinct connections. This approach has been coupled with a contemporary feel, in an attempt to create an up-to-date discussion within the piece. The visual narrative, as portrayed in the triptych, is intended to challenge a more orthodox reading of the original painting, by raising questions about fashion media expectations, gender codes, beauty and morality - in all their ambiguities.
Each image in the finished triptych is approximately the same size as the original painting by Bordon, encouraging the viewer to engage with a contemporary approach to the painting both through the individual images, and through the triptych as a whole. Designed to hang together in a row, the three framed works are archival pigment prints, derived from photographic transparencies taken during the studio sessions. Digital technology has been employed in the completion of each image, with particular attention paid to the richness and subtly of colour that can be achieved through the digital printing process. The chosen media is used to create images that reveal something about the process of constructing images, both on and with the body of the model.
Created with the support of:
Paul Hodgson, Sharon Lloyd, Philip Clarke, Anne Chaisty, Triptych (After Paris Bordon's Venetian Women at their Toilet), 2014. Digital pigment print on paper, mounted on aluminium
Collection of the artist (Paul Hodgson), London.
Image (c) Paul Hodgson.
Image created with the support of: