Show: The Gift. Corinna Spencer.
Tell: “The Gift is an oil painting on a found post card, of a gun in a case lined with blue velvet and is one of a series of paintings that are in the group exhibition Tainted Love. For Tainted Love I made paintings, on throw away and yet collectible post cards inspired by the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
“Robert Ford was obsessed with Jesse, an obsession that graduated from teenage hero worship to something much more sinister and possibly lustful. Obsession is a theme I was, and still am, exploring. The Gift is a painting from the scene in the film where Jesse gives Robert a gun. It’s one of my favourite scenes in the film. I was making these paintings when the opportunity of putting together Tainted Love came up
“The challenge with re working a small part of a bigger story is to fit all of the things I want to say in one image, but at the same time make the painting open and inviting, rather than a closed off mystery that needs to be accompanied by loads of back story. This is generally a rare accident when it works though.
“The Gift is my favourite from the series and yet it’s a painting of an object. There is no sign of Jesse or Robert but perhaps the gun gives a clue to the violent times Robert and Jesse lived in and a premonition of how the story eventually plays out. This postcard painting also seems to work as an object on its own; it could be collected and placed in a draw or pinned to a wall.
“Perhaps the teenage Robert Ford would have kept this picture of a gun owned by Jesse James safe in a tin, under his bed with his comics and stories about the adventures of the James Gang.”
Info: Corinna Spencer studied at Coventry School of Art and lives and works in Coventry. The exhibition, Tainted Love tours London, Coventry and Herefordshire between May and November 2012.
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