'Ancient of Days' series
by Rodney Swansborough


Address: 71 Mayne Street (New England Highway)
Murrurundi - New South Wales 2338

Mobile: 042 777 57 07


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I was inspired to do this work by the cave paintings in France. The simplicity of the horse head outlines really appealed to me....as did the unpretentiousness of the art form. I have emphasized the earthy colours and used natural oxides and even fine dust from crushed bricks which I collected to match the colours I wanted. The texture also has a 'gritty' feel and appearance....which matches the original surface of the cave paintings themselves.
I have also used extensive white areas and used gel medium to add a slightly sculptural effect.




This image provides a closer view of the artistic technique used on the horses' heads - where a large brush was used, even in the horse head outlines.





















This image shows the finer detail of the application of the oxide/house brick sandy textures in the art work

















This is a closer view of the cave wall face where layers of varnished art work build up the dynamic and structural effects of the cave wall.















The second art work in my series "Ancient of Days" called 'Circus Parade'. The "Ancient of Days" series is based on the juxtaposition between ancient cave art and the symbols of modernity. 'Circus Parade' will soon have silhouetted cave art style images of circus parade symbols - which will be contrasted with the strongly lit cave wall background.









I have added circus parade symbols and motifs which juxtapose the ancient with the modern - although both are now archaic. I have deliberately created a somewhat foreboding atmosphere with the stylised silhouetted figures. There are large animals lurking in the shadowed areas.
These circus parade figures are deliberately clown like to add to the sinister absurdity in the strange domestication of the ancient beasts


This is a closer view of the cave art 'prehistoric animals' which will reference to the soon to be created silhouetted circus parade animals and imagery. I have deliberately placed them on the bottom right and have them lurking in the shadowy tones of the cave wall...as an ancient reminder of their foreboding presence and antiquity.





































I have added ferocious lurking dogs near the central lion cage. These increase the sense of foreboding and complicate the domestication of animals, particularly those who perform humanised tricks for circus audiences.
The spider monkeys jumping ahead of the parade symbols, help reinforce the strange relationship between animals and people. These monkeys are always recalcitrant and menacing creatures - appearing semi-human but always beyond domestication.



This baby elephant is deliberately placed on the circus ball to highlight the foolish domestication of these ancient beasts. A feeling of the absurd is inherent within the circus motifs.



















The spider monkeys did take over the top center...and moved the action of the work towards the empty cage which is the point of exit from the art work and its resolution - an empty cage - symbolising the releasing of the circus animals from their absurd domestication and unforgiveable captivity.




















This is the completed artwork : "Ancient of days - Circus Parade"















This is a closer view of the dogs and spider monkeys. The central dog (on the right) is deliberately elongated so as to raise the farcical relationship we have established with animals - personifying their existence to suit our own - turning them into actors in a circus - humanising them to such an extent that we elevate them domestically, especially within our own homes, to the status of children.  
The spider monkeys are yet to infiltrate the art work with their unmitigated recalcitrance .