Spanish Foxgloves & Tails

The fourth panel from the Garden Pentaptych, featuring severed fox tails hung on foxgloves alongside bunches of leaves tied to a frame.

Oil, emulsion and thread on canvas (1×1.7m).

Formerly the 1.7x5m painting which provided the background for the photographic portraits of academicians made during the Court Painter Residency at the Royal West of England Academy of Art.

Now cut into five separate canvases, reworked as a pentaptych [pen-tap-tick] and updated for 2022, it looks to represent both the constant growing and dying flora (plants and flowers) and the theatre of fauna (animals) within a garden. When fully assembled it is an altarpiece to what one might call ‘gardening as method’.

The Garden Pentaptych

As with the residency and subsequent exhibition, this series of paintings are based on the links between photography and painting. The inclusion of a central ornate frame, where the canvas is removed or folded back and stitched, creates some kind of reverse universe whereby one is looking at the real world through a painted frame as opposed to a painting in a real frame. In turn, this creates something that resembles a face-in-hole, cut-out board – the sort found in seaside towns and tourist attractions in which one shoves their grinning face to have their picture taken.