The Pageantry Of Vision (A Three-Part Painting)
by Anne Faith Nicholls
Acrylic and enamel on canvas
Triptych, 180” x 48”
(Consisting of 3 separate paintings, 60” x 48” each)
The Pageantry of Vision is Anne Faith Nicholls’ largest original painting to date, and is described by the artist as one of her most important and personal works. A triptych consisting of three separate paintings which bleed into one another, this work tells the story of the creative process.
In a symbolic narrative intended to be read from left to right, the impetus of an idea is depicted. Starting with a vision, perhaps divine or human, it’s formed exceptionally, from a mysterious five-eyed woman. Perhaps this represents the artist’s ability to see greater than the non-artist. Seemingly the vision “pours” out of her, in a most dramatic fashion, like tears, so powerful they pool on the very desk she sits at.
But like most ideas, there is an element of tragedy that lies within the execution of the vision itself. This is because often an idea proves illusive, and it’s hard to materialize results as grand as what lies in the mind’s eye. And so we resort to pageantry to generate excitement. Here, in the second (middle) painting, tragedy is depicted as a “pageant”. In the center of it all is a fox-headed woman, an anomaly, both animal and human. Symbolism such as a fox head, top hats and suit sleeves parallel this pageant to a fox hunt, or a “meat market” of sorts, as pageants usually end up. This could loosely suggest the experience of putting one’s creativity “on display”, and being both vulnerable to critique but prized for abnormality. The fox is used intentionally to symbolize both cunning and beauty- a rare prize to be won for sure- but in her humanness she remains naked, defenseless, and subject to judgement under the bright lights of pageantry.
As the eye continues left into the final painting, we enter by way of a jungle, lush, thick and wild. Through this, one might imagine navigating the preverbal “jungle” of real life itself. Arriving at a desk, we see our girl again, this time depicted with a normal set of eyes, as she reaches to record her visual account in a burning blank sketch book. Notice that her finger almost touches the pencil… but not quite. This small moment is a direct reference to Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” in the Sistine Chapel, specifically Adam’s “latent touch” reaching for God, both inspired, but somewhat lazy, to make the connection with his creator.
Throughout the triptych, the visual plain is punctuated by blue landscapes. This suggests visions of utopia, good feelings and inspiration. The artist will always attempt to capture and record these, usually in vain, as the mind’s eye is most always unachievable. Nevertheless, this utopic vision persists in dreamlike thought bubbles, and so goes the creative process…A fight to the end, a pageant and tragedy all together, and one can only hope to record a fraction of it’s surreal journey.