Moth Masks, acrylic on papier-mâché masks - a work in progress. Individual masks: (H) 22.5 x (W) 18 x (D) 11 cm. Photograph by Tim Gresham
This ongoing series of painted objects is one of several projects that, when combined, are intended to evoke a Wunderkammer, or ‘wonder-room’.
The work also draws from my personal mythology, primarily the fairy tale The Story of the Moth Masks.
A perennial inspiration is the enigmatic imagery of Surrealist artist René Magritte, whose oeuvre also encompassed painted objects. He first began painting on bottles such as those pictured here in the 1940s, which skilfully incorporate the technique of trompe l’oeil. At present, I’m reading Magritte A to Z (Tate Publishing, 2011, edited by Christoph Grunenberg and Darren Pih.) It has already become a key text. I very much share Magritte’s continuing fascination with notions of the double, metamorphosis, anonymity, disguise, the fictional character Fantômas and much else besides. The book has reminded me of how fundamental Magritte’s imagery and ideas are to my own work, perhaps more than those of any other artist.
Pictured left: Painted bottles by René Magritte, 1959