Learning to Fly

Exhibition dates: 4 – 17 April

Opening: 6 April 6pm – 9pm

Location: Brunswick Street Gallery

I began to reflect on the King River as a source. Its river stone beds and shallow streams, sometimes bubbling around arrangements of boulders, sometimes disappearing into deep, dark, still waters, which had never been beautiful to me when growing up and I had never thought of its significance in our lives beyond its supply of water. The river as a source which had branded a primordial sense of dependency and intimacy within me over my half lifetime. The river that constantly flowed, had always flowed, will always flow. The river that bound us around itself and preserved us. I slowly connected to the idea of source and slowly felt that my own dependency on this source was being revealed. That I had felt a need for years now, to constantly return to this source. I began to connect with the notion of origin and that just as I sat on the banks of this river or swam or drank from it, all I could ever do was draw close to it, to be within in, return to it. I had to return to this river. I have always returned to the King River.

From, Returning to the river, Marco Corsini, 2016

Marco Corsini’s paintings feature the landscape and his immediate environment. Using shifts in viewpoint and perspective and often painted over extended periods of time, the works explore perception and the nature of painting as a recorder of experience rather than as a representative tool. Alongside a phenomenological interest in consciousness and experience, Corsini’s work also incorporates personal motifs such as the horse, indicating the artist’s own presence. The paintings explore perception and subjectivity, asking us to go beyond everyday discourse into deeper engagement with the nature of our existence.

Still learning to fly

Marco Corsini work in progress 27-4-16After a few dead ends which I can’t bring myself to show you, the painting is beginning to get some momentum.

The figure has been overlaid with a baby and a wing, while another wing appears on the lower left side. I’m enjoying the freedom to layer images and ideas without feeling the need to resolve them yet. My technique is very painterly with enough medium to keep the paint flowing and sometimes even more medium to create a transparent glaze.

I like the juncture of the legs and the wing which reminds me of the myth of Icarus, with which I have been fascinated since I was a child.

Why the baby? I thought it would be quite powerful if there was a baby looking out at us at that point in the painting. I have also wanted to paint babies floating over water for a very long time but never did. I don’t know how it connects to the rest of the painting but I will find that out as I work the painting up and discover other connections.

Learning to fly

Marco Corsini, work in progress, 7-2-16

I’ve just begun laying out an initial underpainting. It’s made up of several elements having begun with an image from photo of a river and large rocks, where we camped and swam last summer. Then I painted the images of tents that were hanging to dry (the blue) after that trip and the pencil pines which line one side of our back garden (top left). The figures were then added from my imagination. Whereas most of my work of the last years would have the figure grounded,  I want these and all the other elements to be more like collage although with careful consideration of how they all fit together. As with my little experiment of the vase a few weeks ago, I would like to push the fracturing of the space further and the range of technique also. Hopefully this also gives the possibility of developing the concept and narrative a bit further.

I’ve used oils with a mix of 3/4 mineral spirits as the solvent and 1/4 stand oil although it was all done in a flurry so that ratio might have varied. Rather than just one colour, I used a limited palette of Raw Umber, French Ultramarine, Ochre/Raw Sienna and a cool red. These were what had been left on my palette, so not a lot of planning there. The river is fairly limited in colour but complex so a little colour helps differentiate the forms at an early stage.

This is the first time I have documented my process so it will become clear how many changes a work can go through. At this point I will begin working up everything apart from the figures and use a model to paint the figure properly once I am sure of the composition.















Working on the lamb and the snake

Marco Corsini work in progress 4 15-2-16

I’ve been working on this painting since early to mid last year. I think it is close to finished although I have been spending some time adjusting tones on the woolly coat of the lamb and adjusting lighting.

I began this painting by laying a heavily textured layer down for the wool of the lamb. This early layer was mixed with Liquin, an Alkyd resin medium which acts as a drying accelerator. The purpose of this is that if I was to put a thick layer in oils down first and if if I wanted to put thinner coats down later,  I would be breaking the ‘lean to fat’ principle. By accelerating the drying of a thick under layer, I reduce the chance of a thiner layer that is applied over the top, cracking.

I am not sure if this process produced the result I was after. I found that the under texture dominated all my painting afterwards and it was difficult to manipulate the paint into the more subtle textures I required. The mid layers of the painting therefore felt like they took a long time to resolve and at some stage I scraped back some parts of that under layer/texture. With the under texture dominating I also found the more subtle description of the coat of the lamb, the little shadow of the crevices of the wool, difficult to describe effectively.

I think the final result has worked out well with a softness in the right places. You can see the under texture coming through on the right just above the leg in the image below and you can see the many layers which build texture and tone to give a sense of the wool and the form of the body.

Marco Corsini work in progress 2 15-2-16

You can see the same elements in the description of the head, the under texture being present on the forehead but the later layers describing the form overall.


Marco Corsini work in progress 3 15-2-16

This approach is inspired in part by the working method of Odd Nerdrum who works with a long process of laying down, scraping and sanding. His work also has a mythical quality, often described within an invented landscape. I loosely used some photo sources for the animals but invented the landscape, pose and lighting. All this invention also added time to the making of the piece but I hope that it is imbued with a iconic aura only really achievable through a long process.

Below are some of the images begun this year. Little playthings derived from painting  some kitsch objects which I’ve placed out on my table. After a lot of tight painting last year I see the only way forward as to be playful for a time. The paintings may still end up being worked up considerably.

I’ve had success with the photos by using an iPad. Bye for now.