Putin, 2014, Oil on Panel, 24x35cm
Vladimir Putin, current president of Russia, has an unusual depiction in this painting. His image appears twice, once as a seemingly accurate, detailed but small figure in the foreground, and again as a large, painterly, blurred background. The motivating interest behind the creation of this piece is the idea of process as a separation from reality. A solid claim could be made for painting from life as being the closest to the reality of the subject that it is is possible to be (in terms of figurative painting). If that is the case, this painting is far removed from the reality that birthed it. The blurred figure in the background is in actuality a projection of Putin's image, making this a painting of a photograph of a projection of a person. (It is likely that whilst reading this you are faced with a photograph of the painting rather than the painting itself, adding yet another layer to the process). It does not take a great amount of persuasion to to conclude that the painting itself is not successfully depicting the reality of that individual which constitutes its subject matter. However, this was never the intention for this painting, (if it were, a photograph or painting from life would likely be more successful, being less removed from the subject). The painting is a reality in itself that can experienced first-hand by the viewer. Symbolism can be read into the Big-Brother like imagery and narrative can be read into the use of Putin's image after the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing Ukrainian crisis but neither of these are the forefront of the work. The painted format makes for an experience that is distinct from that of a photograph or projection; it is it's own unique reality as constructed by the artist.