The egg is a perfect form: it is emblematic of life. Together with pomegranates, figs, oysters, and wild birds, the egg is among the vocabulary of objects that populates Flan Flanagan’s recent paintings. All are steeped in ancient, atavistic myth, and play their role in intuitive compositions that merge geometrical abstraction and the symbolism of art-historical still life traditions.
Echoes of early 17th Century Dutch Vanitas painting suggest the fragility of life and its inevitable transience. The blood-red pomegranate holds the promise of both fertility and death: Persephone was bound to Hades for four months of each year for eating its seeds, and brought spring with her as she returned to the human world. Opened oysters are displayed with full knowledge of their erotic allure. The potential of the white egg offers a dynamic counterbalance to the death of the bird.
Flanagan’s process is observational, rooted in her response to light and shadow, stillness and movement, color and tone, form and space. She responds, too, to subconscious whispers of narrative that emerge in the finished paintings. Compositions such as Black & Blue – Under The Firmament (2019) evoke a landscape – is the bird lying on a linen cloth next to an egg, or is it lying in snow under a night sky? These still life paintings are at once observation and abstraction, documentation and mythology.
Flan Flanagan is a painter and artist living and working between London and Cornwall, UK.
Flan originally trained as a sculptor and bronze founder, working as an artist’s assistant for 10 years. She achieved early success as a clothes designer, selling her collections in London’s Kings Road, before focusing on her art. From 2000, Flan created a human being and raised a son. And found her love for oil paint.
Her work today reflects both the everyday and atavistic from her domestic life, imbued with wit, humor and subtle eroticism, and underlined with a dark-edged commentary on life and death. Flan Flanagan works directly from life and still life set ups in natural day light enhancing her use of color. Her observations and handling of form, profile and negative space in her painting stems from her previous experience in 3 dimensional work.
Black, White, Bloodish - Oyster, Egg, Fig, 2020
Black & Blue - Under The Firmament, 2020
December Fall, 2020