In the series Performing Painting, I depict the artist enacting staged allegories of painting. I take as my point of departure, the 14th century frescoes of Giotto that show interior scenes and adjacent landscapes. Using this pictorial device, I depict freestanding rooms in one-point perspective. In bold, simple shapes, I present each element: architecture, figure landscape, as archetypes of their forms. I also apply the notion of archetype to each work as a whole. Each element in the picture stands for what it is - a figure, a scroll etc. while simultaneously being part of an extended metaphor for an historical idea of what a painting is or what social function paintings perform - for example, painting as a stage set for dramatic action or as a form of religious education.
While I develop my ideas from Western art history, my substitutions to that tradition are pointed. I replace religious stories with narratives of the artistic process, biblical angels with Hindu goddesses. My primary substitution is picturing myself, an African American and South Asian American woman, as the archetypical artist.
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