Monday, December 16, 2019

Channelling Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) was the point of departure for my painting, Coil (2001, acrylic on seven canvases, 60.5 x 55.5 cm).

The spiral is a recurring symbol in Vertigo, beginning with Saul Bass's celebrated opening title sequence. Even the tightly coiled coiffure of Madeleine/Judy, as portrayed by Kim Novak, mimics a spiral. One of the film's most indelible moments occurs in the dreamlike Legion of Honour scene, in which Madeleine contemplates the portrait of her ancestor, Carlotta Valdez, by whom she is supposedly possessed.

Taking its cue from Vertigo, the spiral is a repeated motif in Coil. Given its connection to Hitchcock's film, it seemed appropriate to hang the painting at the entrance to the cinema room in our house, alongside its companion work, Net (2001, acrylic on three canvases, 131 x 40.5 cm).

To complete the scene, Alice channels Kim Novak in San Francisco's Legion of Honour Museum.