Melissa Jayne Curtis

Melbourne, Australia

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Artist's Description

Artists Statement:
My initial idea was to express metamorphosis through a concept of change; new beginnings, starting again and re-creating your existence. Inspired by a personal experience, I wanted to use this concept as a way of ‘coming clean’ for my own reasons. I took my ‘metamorphosis’ concept and wanted to express it through the change of seasons, each season being a step towards becoming someone new, it’s a process and each stage carries its own emotion. I expressed each stage using: composition, light/shadow, object, texture, colour, focal point, symbolism, format, movement, contrast and facial expression.

Symbolism for Summer:

Colour: The red colour of the paint shows her emotion – angry, frustrated, eager restless and THIRSTY for something new.
And Contrast: I made her face at a high contrast to show that her identity is simple. She’s covered in a block of clothing, with little detail, to show that she’s boldly covering herself up.

Texture: I used a hard cement coating and a textured interior paint before I applied the paint –this shows that she has imperfections or flaws, which she wants to get rid of. Summer has a very hard texture, to show that this is the beginning of her process of purifying herself from impurities. Put this next to ‘Spring’ and you’ll see that the texture in that painting it a lot less than the texture in Summer, Autumn and Winter. This shows the progression of change.

Composition: She holds her hand above her head, mostly to show confusion, she’s restless and using uses her hands to express this. She’s not centred to show that she isn’t centred in herself, this put in juxtaposition to ‘Spring’, when ‘Spring’ is in the VERY centre of the canvass. This shows the progress from beginning to end.

Expression: This shows the emotion I’m trying to express in ‘Summer’. The reasons I used this expression is much like the reason I used the colour for this painting. The expression she has on her face, is a feeling I’m trying create of boredom, frustration and restless.

Symbolism for Autumn:

Composition: I composed Autumn on the right hand side of the canvas, for the reasons somewhat related to why I composed Summer to the left hand side of the canvas. This is to show the ‘off centred’ emotions and securities. She’s going through the stage of “shedding her identity” “shedding every colour” as an autumn tree does during the autumn season, which means that because she’s “shedding her identity” she isn’t completely there. This is why she is “off centred”.

Shadow: Because Autumn isn’t completely there, as I discussed above, she has a dark shadow over the side of her face. It’s covering her eye, as her eyes are the windows to her identity. It’s also covering half of her face to cover her facial identity.

Texture: As I described in ‘Summer’, the texture is here to represent her flaws and imperfections, as the process goes on, her flaws ‘wash’ away.

Colour: Here I am using Autumn colours, to express my season better. I tried to include all colours that the autumn leaf would have. I used mostly brown, because an autumn leaf which is brown, would be considered to be ‘dried out’ and ‘dead’. This shows that she is dying on the inside. But all plants need to be cut off and ‘pruned’ of the dead bits to let the new growth grow through.

Symbolism: I used the symbol of a blanket, she is using to blanket herself from the world with. This shows that she is fragile, and beginning to be as fragile as a winter tree. She’s in hiding and about to be in hibernation, so she is protecting her wound as and one would, until it’s healed enough to be exposed.

Expression: I made her look off to the side of the canvass to show that she’s avoiding eye contact and confrontation. She appears to be scared and inferior, looking out and protecting herself.

Symbolism for Winter:

Composition: I put her close up to show the confrontation she’s giving herself. She’s confronting every mistake and ‘washing it away’, analysing and correcting everything she’s ever done. She’s purifying her body and eroding every imperfection and flaw she has (texture).

Focal Point: The focal point, I feel, are her eyes. I’ve made her eyes are shut to show that she isn’t letting anyone in. She’s isolating herself because she’s in ‘hibernation’- to hibernate is something the animals do during the winder time. She’s fragile like the trees and she’s breaking her self down to become strong again.

Texture: Again, the texture is getting lesser, to show that her imperfections are being ‘washed away to purification’. They’re eroding away and she’s ‘coming clean’.

Expression: Her facial expression (as I said in focal point) I’ve made her eyes are shut to show that she isn’t letting anyone in. She’s isolating herself because she’s in ‘hibernation’. She isn’t smiling, she isn’t happy, she looks like she’s looking at herself and looking at herself, analysing every mistake she’s ever made.

Symbolism for Spring:

Composition: I made her in the centre of the canvas to show that she’s now centred in herself. She’s strong and re-born. Every thing is in the past and she’s turning for the future. She’s spinning around because she’s ‘turning her back on the past’

Shadow: I have dark shadow on her arms to show a sense of space. The her body parts that are behind her are now in the past, in the background and that the only important things are in the foreground, which is where she is spinning around to.

Texture: Here, I’ve still used the cement texture, to show that there is no such thing as perfection; everyone still has flaws about them. But here, she’s gotten rid of all of the flaws that she can.

Colour: The colours I’ve used here are colours which come out during spring time. Greens on the leaves and grass, pinks and yellows on the flowers. This shows the beauty of spring, and the beauty she holds now that she has washed herself clean of her mistakes, imperfections and flaws as a person (none of these flaws are physical – only mental and personal) she’s beautiful this represents her inner beauty of her flawless personality.

Symbolism: She’s naked to express that she’s not afraid to reveal who she really is (put this in juxtaposition to Summer, when she first started off, she was covering herself up, afraid to show who she is). Now that she’s recreated herself, she’s not afraid to show who she is.I used butterflies as a symbol of metamorphosis, as butterflies represent change.

Movement: I used her hair to show that she’s spinning around. The lines of her hair show this movement well. With the bit of hair starting to come around to the front of her face, and the hair behind her rapping around. The movement shows that she’s turning her back on her past.

Expression: Her facial expression is here to represent her enjoyment, satisfaction of being free. I tried to make her smile a pleasant smile, she’s relaxed and I think this helps me express my emotion more.

Artwork Comments

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