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© 2019 by Cornelius DELANEY. All rights reserved
Lismore Regional Gallery,
Lismore NSW Australia
These works were made for my PhD thesis. The project was executed between 2004 and 2008 as Australia followed the USA into what became protracted wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The grief and anxiety I felt in response to these wars and their phoney motivations thematically underpins much of this work.
I collected imagery from a wide range of sites and allowed it to trigger pictorial responses. Erupting from this collecting process, social texts such as TV and radio news, cultural texts such as cinema and literature, and the subtext formed by my own dreams and nightmares were conflated to become a kind of mythology informing the paintings. The work became a phenomenological investigation that probed and responded to a media saturated consumer culture, whilst on another level, injected an element of cognitive dissonance back into this culture.
The paintings use the efficacy of the image and the subversive power of metaphor to engage with several interconnected themes. These range from the dialectic of truth and illusion in the painted space, to power relations, marginalisation and the possibility of finding holes in that maze without exits we call ‘capitalism’.
Figuration and oil paint is intended as a ludic rebuttal of 20th Century/modernist notions of minimalism and the so-called ‘end of painting’. The relationship within the paintings between the medium and the message (the paint and the illusion) seeks to operate like the drapery found in paintings from the Baroque era that both reveals and conceals the forms beneath it. This contradiction serves as an anamorphic mirror that highlights the subterfuge and legerdemain currently operating behind the veil constituted by technology and contemporary mass culture.
The goofy, cartoon-like nature of these paintings and the playful strategies deployed in their construction, bear witness to the profundity of play in contrast to the burdensome yoke of labour.