30th October 2019

This blog is about the build-up of a painting I was planning for quite some time now. I want to create a work that says a lot of things and the drawing ‘An archeological memory of Bettie Page – 18-11-18‘ was the prestudy.

 

The idea I borrowed from Salvador Dali’s ‘Archeological reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus’ I was able to see in real life last October 20th 2019 at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, part of the Millet exhibition that includes the original and Dali’s painting.

Aforementioned drawing was the first of my ‘Out of Egypt’ series, based on a rather non-pinupesque nude Bettie studio phograph by Peter Basch taken in 1952. A variant from the same studio series I used for the painting ‘The Revelation of Bettie Page (2018)‘.

I decided to keep the fox or basset dog shape in her breast but was on the look for something new. Remembering Dali’s painting I set out to transform her into a statue since this pose was conducive to interpret it as such.

In my search for statues I came across a  sphinx and I saw Bettie’s head on top of it  I pulled a visual trick I used before: combining two images converging into one. Her hand becomes the sphinx’s tale.

As the painting progresses I had to come up with a solution artist often face. When you scale something up to a higher level you seem to step into another world and therefor something big show different and more aspects one cannot see on a a smaller scale.

More was needed to tell the story that could be more hybrid of nature. I already had the ancient statues and the carvings but I imagined Bettie to be excavated in the desert, standing there derelict. Since Bettie is such an American icon and my previous Bettie painting was all about American puritanism I associate the desert – Bettie in the middle of it – with America’s role in the Middle East. That is where the PMC’s, Humvees and helicopters come in.

There you have it: the state of the painting on October 30th 2019 and there is a lot of more work to do. To be continued.

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