Whenever an artist presents an ‘Untitled’ work I admit to wondering whether they are being lazy, obscure or maybe even a bit pretentious. But of course any artwork is an undertaking and no artist (I suppose) would cast off a work as ‘Untitled’, without some effort to give a prospective viewer an insight into the concept or context, the location or the bodies represented.
So in my defence to those who feel I might be in the pretentious set – I have to declare a complete state of mystery. After about a year of painting this one I’m still not sure who these two women are or why they are on a lake looking like they may be in conversation – other than that they started out as the same life model in the Enderby Studio in Richmond.
So in the words of Adele ‘This is the end.’ The search for meaning is over. I can only suggest that this canvas is a sort of sampler.What started as a perfectly good, (if a bit anatomical) study of the human back, then took me off in all directions.
Like one of those courses in the park where you have to stop every 100metres and take on a new testing exercise with some strange unfamiliar equipment. In this case the stages represent a year of tours of parts of the national gallery laid out in readable stages where I would obviously come back feeling the intent of the artist I had just scrutinised.
The dog in the painting is the studio dog who comes in and lies about but adding her didn’t make things easier – ok this is Freud, (Lucien not Sigmund!). There is the green of an arcadia, dripping with willows on a glacial lake (Monet surely) – mixed up with the dry paddocks and eucalypts of an Australian summer landscape (Streeton of course or maybe Wolsley who talked about understanding that painting is all about energy).
The woman with red hair and – after much attacking – a deep purple-blue robe – that’s Millais or Rossetti isn’t it, but being so relaxed isn’t it more like Charles (another Chas) Condor?
In any case all unhelpful in finding a title.
Composition, tone, light, colour, glazing, impasto, palette knife scoring…all imposed on the poor women who sit there wondering ‘what am I doing on this lake and who is this other person? Is she also me?’
With many apologies then for being pointless and not even clever enough to be enigmatic*, but if anyone there has a thought for a title just let me know.