Visual Virtuosity: Contemporary Quadratura Painting ­ An Allegory of a Portrait


This successful research project centred a body of work within the physical, allegorical and historical narratives of Quadratura Painting. It acknowledged the anthropological grammar of ornament and its motif, as well as the technical prowess associated with the evolution of objects within pictorial space. It recognised the associated parallel of Realist painting and the precedent of self-portraiture as disembodiment. The paper traced the realisation of maestro authenticity beginning with 15th and 16th century Flemish conquests of Reality [and the correspondent Italian penchant for harmonious perspectival illusion], then catapulted the issue into the Baroque Starfleet conquests of Andrea Pozzo and Giambattista Tiepolo. This was balanced against the plasma-screen plasticism of the replicant years of Photo- Realism and the grounding of Quadratura painting within a current vernacular. The suggestion was that the historical model of spiritual, didactic and environmental propositions of illusionary painting have evolved into purely decorative tableaux within domicile or professional applications. Has the ‘quest for truth’ becomes obsessive contrivance and artifice. The studio practise was a delineation of the ‘ocular gush’ as replication of corporeal space. This was both a literal translation of “quadratura” as “tourist pictures’ and a deliberate, mannered gesture of representing autobiographical guise within the flayed skin of a rectangular painting.

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Wayne Brookes completed his Master of Fine Art at the University of Tasmania Centre for the Arts in 2003. He is currently enrolled in a PhD in Hobart, researching “Heaven’s Above ­ Celestial Ceilings: A Contemporary Paragon of Apotheosis”. He has maintained a professional practise for over 20 years and has exhibited extensively.