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|The Alchemy of Exile
“The Greeks had two meanings for it: ‘eu-topos’, meaning the good place, and ‘u-topos’ meaning the place that cannot be…”
Rachel Menken, `Mad Men’, Episode 6: Babylon, (2007).
My work is centred around the search for this good place, and the unlikelihood of remaining there, even if we find it. It is a place of loss and nostalgia, love and guilt, innocence and corruption. The title of my Master’s exhibition, `The Alchemy of Exile’ conflates the turbulent energy preceding breakdown and transformation with the universal theme of exile from paradise. I consider this chaos, and the resultant expulsion, to be a necessary aspect of any creative growth. It is exemplified in physical laws and in the capacity for self-destruction in human nature, which leaves us to wander East of Eden.
These paintings reference art historical works to create narratives that, while taken from life, are really invoking knowledge of proto-typical situations. I am drawn to the drama and extravagance of the Baroque with its dynamic compositions, rich colours and use of chiaroscuro. The latter has the connotation of emergence – an acknowledgement that transformation is a painful process which is often undertaken unseen, as with the birth of a butterfly or the journey through grief.
 Genesis 4:16, “So Cain went out from the lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”