I never met Peter’s father, the artist Dick Wakelin (1921 – 1987) though in this early Mari Lwyd painting I used a sculpture by him to suggest a monument in a blasted landscape. The original construction, made of painted wood, is about six inches high. The cube has been constructed with a void within, and a separate piece that gives form to that void rests atop the cube. It’s as though the inside has been quarried out and displayed, a clever idea neatly executed.
Having completed Mari Lwyd Dancing I wanted to further explore the notion of Dick’s construction as a building. However I felt that the ‘cross’ aspect of the construction was too heavily symbolic for my purposes, and so set about creating shapes that while they drew on the original, wouldn’t be freighted with the more obvious associations. I started by making observational drawings of the construction. Then I sliced the drawings vertically, reassembling the strips into collages of distorted forms, reinventing the original cube and exterior cross into new shapes that became the monstrous mausolea of the Mare’s Tale drawings. You can see an example of one of the resulting re-workings of the sculpture HERE.
Although The Mare’s Tale was an exploration of grief precipitated by the death of my father, I feel that the process of making the series had added resonance for me, and perhaps for Peter too, because the drawings contained aspects of Dick Wakelin’s work. Dick’s sculptures are a constant presence in our home, and it feels comforting that in changed form, one of his constructions has entered my own paintings and drawings. A satisfying process of evolution.
I found photographs of Dick’s sculpture in my picture archive, and so I’ve posted them here to show the model for the painting.