Cross media seems to be the theme of the day. Where I was privileged to experience the ultimate in cross media with the 3D film of Carmen, today I was lucky enough to enjoy the mixed/cross media work of printer and fine artist, Ronald Chapeau at The Art Shop, in my home town.
The Art Shop opened Ronald Chapeau’s exhibition last Sunday. Apparently, the opening attracted a lot of attention. I missed it, as I was at the opera! But this morning, having the space to myself to stand back and soak in the work was perfect for me.
Ronald Chapeau uses photographs of some of my favourite actors, in particular Al Pacino as the young Don Corleone (naturally against the backdrop of Marlon Brando, the Godfather himself) and Heath Ledger as The Joker from the batman film, The Dark Knight. He repeatedly uses the same photograph on several canvasses as the basis for his creations. Then by using screen printing techniques and exciting, daring, bright almost fluorescent colour, turns each one into a unique work of art. It is then apparent how an identical image can be made to evoke a different reaction, emotion, when used in combination with other colours or other subliminal items (such as newspaper cuttings or quotes) on the canvas. It is the combination that does something to the senses.
It is no accident that on one of the Don Corleone canvasses a Sudoku puzzle from the newspaper is visible. No accident that bright yellow and garish purple figure strongly in the Joker canvasses and are apparently thrown on carelessly as though the paints have exploded, while the words “I am a simple man, I enjoy either dynamite or gunpowder”, cross the canvas.
Ronald Chapeau has mastered the art of subliminally manipulating the observer’s reaction. Several media: film, newspaper and photography are churned together on a canvas and used alongside strong, decisive painting techniques to create something new.
And it is precisely because of the subtext contained in the narrative of each of the media, that the end result is so powerful and evocative.