Show: Panda Postcard. Alli Sharma
Tell: “I have been making a series of London Zoo Postcard paintings, approx 40 small works on canvas from postcards found at the London Zoo archive. The subject seemed appropriate for the postcard auction at Lincoln. I am interested in souvenirs, like postcards, and objects we value for more than their object selves; the small things we become attached to that remind us of other people, times and places, particularly childhood.
“I also seem to be drawn to our relationship with animals, whether overlooked and living alongside us unnoticed or the desire to bring animals into our homes. The postcards point to an uncomfortable history with captive animals. In this painting the brick wall indicates that the panda isn’t in its natural habitat, perhaps lending some pathos to the image.
“It is challenging to translate an image into paint on this small scale without getting too caught up with the detail. I want the paintings to be as much about marks, spaces and tones as they are about the image. I try to use loose mark making, large-ish brushes, and move the paint around to conjure up the image, rather than making a painstaking copy. I want the painting to look fresh, and not too laboured, but it doesn’t always work out. The palette is very limited and washy in this series and the concentration is on building up the areas around the white which is left as ground.
“On reflection, the London Zoo series is melancholic. There is sadness in the animals looking out from their artificial environments. To me it feels like the exposed bare bones of a painting and maybe getting information across by minimal means is a direction the work is taking. I am led by personal history, memories and interests, but I hope to make work that is open enough to provide viewers their own stories. I admire Karen Kilimnick and Elizabeth Peyton for the personal and self indulgent ways of working and matter of fact style.
“I love the ambition, energy and directness in Rose Wylie’s paintings. Paul Housley paints objects with detachment, concentrating only on making an interesting painting, and Annabel Dover paints them unguarded and with love. There are too many other artists to look at but I did have some good teachers at St Martins. Such as Emma Talbot who makes beautifully haunting, pared down works about family life, and Clem Crosby who feels his way around a painting by moving the stuff around.”
Info: Alli Sharma’s painting Panda Postcard is part of an online postcard auction of original artworks by artists from across the UK to fundraise for The University of Lincoln’s fine art degree show.
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