Escape by Mark Sheeky

G274A Escape
Oil on panel
Feb to Sep 2011, Size 254x370 mm

Detail from Escape by Mark Sheeky Detail from Escape by Mark Sheeky

About this painting
Painted as a dual portrait to accompany The Colours of Cheshire. My plan was to draw the portrait and use it for two paintings, thus saving on time. The plan went badly wrong, as this painting took eight months to complete.

We see a beautiful woman. A perspective grid sinks into the distance, and a black arc is present at the bottom too. A vine wraps around the arc and a bud, a balloon made from an onion is released. Her left side is empty, literally vanishing into the background and there is some delicate shading there.

The eye is central, and linked to the arc mathematically. The onion, free from its strangling vine indicates freedom, escape. The buds on the vines are still stuck there. The arc is part of a perfect circle that ends in flames. Is the escape doomed, or is the fate of the arc part of the past, not the future for the onion-balloon?

Perhaps the vine is one person, and the black arc it once entwined another? The shapes in the sky are mountains, a landscape from Antarctica but only when seen upside down.

Technical details
The painting depicts silent film actress Nazimova. Early designs of the painting were full of mathematics; the balloon improvisation was a representative of pi, and the vine a number chain.

Escape (Original)
Private collection.