Oil on linen, 71 x 55.5cm (28 x 22 inches)
The name for this piece is derived from the play between the two pronunciations of ‘magdalen’ (as Mary Magdalen), the first being as it is spelled, and the second – in more common usage in Oxford – as ‘maudlin’, thereby also subtly expressing something about the sombre, melancholy quality of the image, in addition to the implicit religious qualities. This linguistic interplay is of particular interest to me in my studio practice; I am constantly attempting to find interesting ironies in religious imagery, and in the way that something can be made religious simply by the way it is titled and in a very simple arrangement of figures and objects that recalls much painting of the Italian Renaissance.
Lately, much of my inspiration comes from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, as I am fascinated with the deep, dark images that come to me from such lines as:
… him round
A globe of fierie Seraphim inclos’d
With bright imblazonrie, and horrent Arms
(Book 2, Lines 511-513)