Page 9 - Art First: Kate McCrickard: New Romantics
P. 9

KMcC    Yes, these busy scenes come from the observed environment of our
                       crowded planet and a recent leap into imagination and memory that
                       is hard won. All kinds of things come to mind during long hours in the
                       studio, often tedious hours, but then a connection might come as in
                       Knight and the Devil. Here I took a sketch of a local waiter and juxta -
                       posed him with a figure inspired by an extraordinary miniature draw -
                       ing of a cheval ier by the French 17th century artist, Jacques Callot.
                       I liked the idea of Callot’s character turning up at my local café; history
                       and images can be considered retroactively. Then a younger version
                       of my son peeping over the bar appeared (his curly red hair lends itself
                       well to paint). Ben also appears in Feasting as do my two daughters,
                       planted among imagined ghosts and new romantics. I like this retro -
                       active interweaving that seems natural and playful to me and the faces
                       that I know well can help prop up the imagined ones. Art history is
                       extremely important and I don’t mind if the references are both ram -
                       bling and pointed. The Table of Ghosts is, of course, drawn from Bon -
                       nard’s most famous French table scenes and this table is in a French
                       house that we visit every summer—a long table that has served genera -
                       tions of children that needed to be painted. I also enjoy the formal con -
                       trast of scale that planting a small child in a scene stuffed with adults
                       can provide, different eye levels, and the continuity—like an evolving
                       musical pedal point—that painting recurring characters can provide.

               CC           How does portraiture play a role in your work?

               KMcC    I wouldn’t say that any of the characters roaming across the paintings
                       are portraits, but they nearly always have a real person behind them
                       that has been sketched from life. The prostitute is a lady with a sheet
                       of black hair who comes to the café next door for her morning
                       espresso with her ‘client’ at the same time every day. The jump from
                       that rapid line sketch to a large oil painting leaves a huge gulf to be
                       filled by imagination and memory, however, and I’d like to avoid types,
                       but if not painting with a model in front of you, we all fall into painting
                       types, so I would say rather a ‘portrait of a drinker’ for example, or                 7
                       a ’portrait of a goth’. Types that I hope we all might recognise.
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