Moyna Flannigan Tear.
The series Tear with its focus on materiality offers a new perspective on representation of the female form and a heightened awareness of the relationship of surface, touch, and material to image.
With reference to images of female grace, the body is re-presented as a site of sense-perception and feeling, as a sensory being-in-the-world.A small but specific range of materials is used to create lush surfaces and colour so that the image sits outside of its original context. It is out-of-time.
A taxonomy of body parts is used in the collage but their destiny is directed by a chance-driven working process. In taking on a new life as a collage, the images also refer to the location of forms in space: harmony. In doing so they become like icons which remain untouchable in the memory. They feel as if they have al- ways been there. The accumulation of fragments of drawings are markers by which the work stores time. This process is simultaneous and ongoing: the collage is paradoxically “live”.
The paintings are borne out of a desire to crack open the collage by painting it. Isabelle Graw’s assertion of “the material and technical register of the work of art as the site rather than a mere support of meaning” * led me beyond paint which was commercially available to its origins, pigment and binder, to make my own paint
For most of my painting life I have been fascinated by one painting in particular – The Madonna del Parto, 1460, by Piero Francesca, the first feminist representation of an earthly pregnant woman. In this painting you are taken into the image without being aware of the surface of the painting: there is nothing between the image and you. This relates to the notion of the picture plane and space in painting which for a painter is really the mysterious thing about painting. Where is this image which you make?
There came a point last year where I felt the only way to really get at these ideas was to adopt a painting technique more like Piero and I began to make distemper paint. Distemper has its origins in Egyptian paint- ing with its five colour palette – white, black, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre and english red. When pigment is mixed with warm rabbit skin glue it becomes paint. The paint has to be applied warm. It dries quickly, dead flat. It doesn’t not allow for revisions. The paint appears not to exist on the surface at all but it is there on a metaphysical plane. The existence of the image therefore, is to do with matter, materiality.
A work of art can teach you how to see it, its a small but vital thing.
I see my new paintings as part of a reassessment of where painting is right now. Painting has to exist in the world with everything else, not on a pedestal.The relationship is direct: a painting creates its own culture.
Moyna Flannigan, September 2018
*Painting Beyond Itself:The Medium in The Post-medium Condition, Isabelle Graw
Moyna Flannigan lives in Edinburgh and has a studio in Dunbar, East Lothian.