Brittany & The Ebony Tower

by Chantal

On Sunday I am going to Brittany for 2 weeks, staying in a woodland gite near the village of Langourla. As well as looking forward to a great family holiday, I am especially excited about the opportunity to really reflect on The Ebony Tower project that I’m currently working towards.

Paimpont Forest, Brittany - setting of The Ebony Tower

Paimpont Forest, Brittany - setting of The Ebony Tower

Dean Melbourne and myself have plans to hold a joint exhibition of our work which will be heavily influenced by the John Fowles (1974) story, The Ebony Tower. It is an immensely stimulating story, rich in imagery, exploring the nature of art and the individual. A young artist visits a celebrated but reclusive painter and the two beautiful young women who share their lives with him. There is a conceptual clash with ideas of the nature of art (Williams and Breasley) and this is paralleled with a battle of the mind and body (Williams and Anne). The story is set in Manoir de Coetminais in Paimpont Forest, Brittany, which is only 50 minutes from where I will be staying.  Dean and his family will be visiting us for part of the holiday so we will be able to take photographs and soak up some of the backdrop to the story.

165 feathers down - a mere 135 to go

165 down -135 to go

As well as ongoing sketchbook thoughts and ideas for this collaboration, there are a number of pieces that we are currently both working on that will hopefully be part of the end product. The bird nest piece within the glass box, for example, and a piece that I have been patiently working on for a while that involves sewing 300 peacock feathers together to form a blanket for an antique cast iron bed that I found. Dean is currently working on some paintings using the darkness and intensity of the story’s nighttime orchard walk and some photos he found of Bonnards nude models.

Bonnard's Garden, 2009, Dean Melbourne

Bonnard's Garden, 2009, Dean Melbourne

I’m really excitied about the thought of showing our work together. Our work has common ground in the area of emotional impact, and I think the combination of his paintings and my objects will create a rich and layered narrative for the viewer to explore.