Picture Box
2013, oil on canvas, 180 x 240cm

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I was invited to return to the subject of the cage by Stephen Brandes, curator of the exhibition Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art. At first I was reluctant to revisit old territory, but then thought of a new optical conundrum to test within the lattice of the cage.

The surrounding background was painted first with RGB vertical bars, resembling the composition of a TV screen. With varying saturations of colour, the background presents a subdued colour wheel within which the cage is housed. Each space within the cage lattice has a randomised combination of two colours from a palette of 288 - 36 different hues, covering the spectrum, and 8 separate tones, echoing the graded darkening of the background from bottom to top. The saturation and brightness of the colours was worked out to present an equalised luminosity across the painting, where a black and white photo of the painting would show no fluctuation of tone (in actuality, almost an impossible task in paint, as opposed to digital printing, with paint's comparatively limited colour gamut, and the varying of saturation and tone as paint dries). The two possible directions of the stripes, following the perspective of the cage, were randomised, and offer a sense of a shallow relief of folded pleats - only visible as the painting is approached.