escaping hell fire

‘Escaping Hell Fire”, collage, 240cm x 800cm, 2021

“The large scale of the work is intended to envelop the viewer in an immersive visual sensation that evokes a sensory potency to the painting for both its theme as well its intricate execution. Having planned out the work on a series of quick watercolour sketches, I began by applying an underpainting in an acrylic wash to inform the colour scheme, tone and arrangement of compositional elements. I arranged printed materials of packaging by hues and tones on the completely montaged upper layers of the painting, adhering to the colour scheme. I cut these materials into shapes and layered fine scalpel-cut pieces over the frayed-edged hand-ripped pieces of packaging, thus creating low relief, undulations and contours. The intricacy is achieved using smaller curvilinear or amorphous fragments of paper layered to create 3D illusions. The transition of light and dark is accentuated by cascading visual forces of diagonal elements that convey a sense of movement. Most of the media used in painting Escaping Hell Fire is derived from the packaging of food items consumed within my home, leaflets dumped on my driveway or in my letter box, junk mail, shreds of bank account statements, newspapers, magazines, receipts, invoices and the never-ending stacks of papers, not least shopping paper and plastic bags. When I ran out of media, I placed an advert in the local NextDoor app. I also visited my local supermarkets late in the evenings when they re-stocked their shelves, to salvage any colourful packaging about to be discarded. The unreliable supply of materials soon became a stimulus for resourcefulness in the layering of the stiffer cardboard / carton to create relief effects and shadowing achieved through the stacking of limited-coloured shipping cartons. The sweeping rhythmic transitions of shapes and the materiality of hand-ripped media employed in my painting takes reference from Sarah Sze’s collaging technique.” Hassan Aliyu, 2022