The Ideas behind the painting

This is my painting that was shortlisted for the Busselton Art prize I now have it back. 152cm x 965cm it is titled. “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

I cant go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.
I cant go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.

The title is taken from a line in Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland, which I have been exploring for my masters study in Visual Art at ECU. I have been using the text as a critical lens to

Detail: I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

examine ideas around choice, desire and agency. When I embarked on this study I didn’t realise how many other artists have responded to Carroll’s story. Charles Blackman and Jenny Watson are well known contemporary examples, but I wasn’t aware that the surrealists saw the story as a journey into the unconscious; with many including Dali and Breton making Alice inspired work.

Alice in Wonderland is a story rich with symbolism and metaphor, and it is this aspect that most inspires me. The symbols I have chosen for the painting are archetypal and can be interpreted in different ways, each person brings their own experience to the work and as such experiences it in a different way. The main character in the painting, Alice has many choices, climb the ladder, walk through the door, enjoy the tree sit on the chair. Each choice to some extent precludes the other; of course, she could do one thing after the other, and this is where time comes into it. As we all change over time our choices change, what was once a burning desire becomes less relevant. Other things take hold we make different decisions.

This painting took a while to complete see a previous blog for more info. As I started to rework this painting, all the experience from the two previous exhibitions seemed to seep into it, the pattern started to emerge informed by my printmaking. Gradually the painting emerged with countless layers. (See previous exhibitions which inspired this work by clicking here http://shanajames.com/gallery/)

This work is for sale $4200, oil on canvas 152cm x 965cm, like everything I make only artist quality materials were used, for the longevity of the work. Contact me if you are interested email: shanajames@iinet.net.au

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