Memento Vivere: Remember to Live

Anastasia G. Wildig: PhD Exhibition

After completing my BA and MA in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University in 1998, I began my career as an illustrator, before teaching in positions ranging from artist in residence to head of department. In 2008 I studied the classical tradition of the ‘sight-size’ method at The Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, painting from direct observation. I subsequently worked as a photo-realist artist for Damien Hirst, painting from high-resolution prints. As a result of this opportunity, I returned to my practice with an experience in diametrically opposed methods of painting. I also embarked on my PhD research with the aim of formulating a technique that combined the most significant and compatible elements of the two processes.

 

In examining the relationship between the artist and subject in still life painting, I re-visited a long-standing interest in pill packets: a theme that became the focus for the study. I addressed the formal elements in painting, repetition, tension and realism, and observed that a viewers’ personal experiences influence the interpretation of what they see. This led to a semiotic investigation, identifying how meaning is dependent on memory, values and belief systems.

 

A series of visual contrasts emerged, including the convergence of minimalist presentation and maximalist application, as well as subliminal reminders of life and death. The medications are representative of the individual people who take them and the conditions for which they are prescribed. In this way, these still life paintings also allude to portraiture, and as a result position the subject within two genres simultaneously.