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After Raphael 1, Mixed Media on Canvas, 3' x 2', £190

During investigation into the history of drawing and into the definition of a group I was taken with depictions of the Madonna and Child as a primary relationship that we all have from birth.  It is not just the religious element but also the repetitive theme, its mass production, unchanging format.  The relationship between mother and child: love, bond, intimacy, tenderness, security and togetherness, to mention just a few descriptions these images convey.
Using Raphael’s painting ‘Virgin, Child and St John’ I started by simplifying the drawing with ink to produce a two-tone drawings.  The result was quite stunning as it made it easier to see the composition.   I found out that artists like Nicolas Poussin used this same type of tonal analysis to reduce their studies down to ensure the overall tonal effect of light and shade is established when planning their work.
I looked closely at the composition – the geography of the paintings, lines, angles, curves and focal points and I discovered a whole world of geometry including The Logarithmic Spiral, which until now had only associated with mathematics in school.
I went on to make marks to denote the geometry and during my investigations these marks became looser and freer, and like Jackson Pollock I ended up dribbling paint to loosely describe paths of composition.
© Mary Burton 2012