Art of Wendy Tate
Some thoughts on why I paint...
My influences are many and varied; I have a passion for the likes
of Giotto, Caravaggio, Valazquez, Rembrandt and Chardin as well
as more contemporary artists such as Dodd Proctor, Stanley Spencer,
Hopper, Rothko, Alison Watts, Lucian Freud and Michael Leonard
to name a few.
I am absorbed by the figure and especially depictions carrying
a certain monumentality, irrespective of their size. The figure
is an immensely evocative image and I have written several of
my dissertations about the relevance of the nude, especially the
male nude, and of the nude's relevance today as a metaphor for
an alternative reality. I am also inspired by the colours of autumn;
their light and luminosity, and the invocation of memories through
the use of these colours.
I spent a month at the Cyprus College of Art and there I found
myself inspired by the Byzantine icons and the beauty of their
decaying state. This proved to be seminal for me and drastically
changed the way I worked; which until then had been very realist.
I became interested in the fragmentation of the image and the
layering of its process of creation that comes through as an image
decays. I wanted to capture some of this 'accident' and introduce
it into my work. I have since established a process that involves
using colors inspired by leaf matter, dripping them onto the ground
and repeating this several times allowing the colours to mix on
the canvas, adding various shades of gold dust and gold leaf until
I have a prepared ground in which to work the image. I begin in
acrylic washes and oil scumbles and glazes, with the addition
of tissue paper for texture and to disrupt the 'illusion' of the
As you can imagine each picture begins to dictate its own evolution
at various points. The figure fades in and out of this ground
in both the highlights and shadowed areas. The result encapsulates
a variety of meanings, both due to the iconic nature of the nude,
and with respect to memory and the layering of experiences that
go to make us individuals within a collective consciousness.
Wendy Tate April 2002