Gugger Petter

'Female Head/Madonna' is a title of a group of large scale works based on numerous sources including paintings of Giovanni Bellini, Giotto, Byzantine icons and mosaics as well as friends of mine I have used as models.

As a young artist, I lived from 1970 to 1983 in Italy and Mexico, an experience which, in particular, profoundly affected my involvement with traditional Christian depictions of the Virgin Mary.

In early Christianity and especially that of the Eastern church an icon was, of course, intended to effect direct communication between an individual and the Divine; and I've long held, as a goal, that something analogous to this could be established through my own works.

The large scale which I use in this group of works, stands in strong contrast to the much smaller scale of the icons in traditional eastern Roman Art. But, like a traditional icon, no specifically occult reference is intended.

In the 'Female Head/Madonna' works the female image is invariably cropped, and, to a certain degree at least, liberated from any sacred connotation.

My general approach in respect to the material means of making art, one that I've used now for many years, may also be seen to have substantial connections with Byzantine mosaic art. This approach involves the interweaving of sheets of newspaper each of which has been previously rolled up tightly along its length. The image of the work thus formed from this interweaving thereby shows many of the characteristics common to mosaic art, viz: a surface highly refractory to light and constituted in terms of small and discrete areas of material. And as in any mosaic, the images in these works, from a distance, appear to viewers to resemble painterly depictions; but by being viewed more closely, their material reality becomes fully revealed

An additional characteristic fundamental not only to these works but also to both Byzantine icons and mosaics, is that they all presuppose a direct confrontation between viewer and image