‘HMS Belfast’ | ‘Museum Ship’ | ‘River Thames, London’
A bamboozling predator of the sea, the HMS Belfast painted in ‘Admiralty Disruptive Camouflage Type 25’ sits proudly moored along the side of the South Bank. In the midst of London Art & Design culture, with The Tate Modern and Design Museum flanking either side, I took a moment to consider the functional and aesthetic merit of the HMS Belfast’ paint job.
Lieutenant Commander and marine painter Norman Wilkinson invented the concept of disruptive colouration combinations and stripes in 1917. Named Dazzle Camouflage, it is a paint scheme used primarily on ships extensively during WWI and to a lesser extent WWII. A constructed chaos of complex patterns and geometric shapes in harshly contrasting colours interrupting and intersecting each other.
Its purpose was confusion rather than concealment. Making it difficult for the enemy to estimate its type, size, speed and heading An observer would find it difficult to know exactly whether the stern or the bow is in view; and it would be equally difficult to estimate whether the dazzle camo vessel is moving towards or away from the observer’s position.
“… an original and sinister touch, which leaves the enemy puzzled as well as beaten.” Sir Winston Churchill.
The vortistic nature of the dazzle paintwork has an essence of familiarity with the previous posts but with a greater practical effect;- shape form and pattern not as decoration or art, but to be used as a deterrent for war engagement.
‘Point Of View’ | 4 ‘specific architectural sites’ | By ‘Felice Varini’
Swiss born, master of geometric perspective Felice Varni sprung to mind when thinking of an artistic linkage with the design of ‘Inlay by Front’ …
Although both Felice and Front have work that manipulates the view of its audience, their works’ have opposing attributes. Inlay’s colours and patterns provide focal points which the eye is drawn in or out transforming a flat plane into one with volume, an abstract landscape. Whereas Felice removes these focal points flattening the site at a particular perspective into two dimensions.
The paintings are formed by projected stencils and are characterised by a single vantage point from which the holistic image can be deciphered. A simple geometry coupled with a primary colour palette bring forth the boldness of the overall form.
There is a discrete individuality for each component of the painting as the difference in material, light, colour, texture and distance of the three dimensional environment means that a change of hue is required to create synchronicity in the painting. For example, when some structures are great distances between one another but require a uniform colour from the holistic vantage point, many gradients of one colour unify to fulfil the end result.
The view walking through felice’s work and the view from the chosen vantage point appear as two linked pieces. The walking view portrays a sense of action, fluidity and movement; which can appear chaotic or haphazard depending on your perspective. The larger perspective depicts a clean static image, a correlation that not only changes our spatial awareness but shows the complexity of its workings out.
“The painted form achieves its coherence when the viewer stands at the vantage point.When *he moves out of it, the work meets with space generating infinite vantage points on the form. It is not therefore through this original vantage point that I see the work achieved; it takes place in the set of vantage points the viewer can have on it.” …extract from Felice Varini interview
‘Inlay’ | 4 ‘Porro’ | By ‘Front’
An arrangement of traditionally crafted Oak inlays set into Oak framed storage furniture. A harmonious fusion of artistic styling and artisan woodworking…
The variance of intricacies, angles and colours provides a sense of illusion & aura. The patterning toys with the viewers sense of perception drawing the eye to view three dimensional forms that seemingly protrude from a flat surface.
The accenting drawer handles play a key role in the illusion, as their offset position shifts the focal points of the pattern to cause further disarray in the minds eye.
‘Inlay’ is available in two variations; as a dinning room sideboard or two drawer chest. The combination of style, material and technique allow these pieces to be versatile in there application. Appealing to both contemporary and traditional settings.