Wednesday, 13 January 2010

It was wicked in New York ...

Dorothy's red shoes appear in a painting by Andrew Foster in the "Precious in Thy Sight" exhibition at the Furnival Gallery, Sheffield in December 2009. In November, I was lucky enough to see the musical "Wicked", which is the prequel to Wizard of Oz at the Gershwin Theatre in New York.

This scene comes quite late into the show, where you can get the first (I think) full stage reference to the Dorothy story as though events from both stories are destined to converge at some point in the future. The good witch and the supposedly wicked witch are separating, and in the background is the strangely storm light of the Kansas prairie, where the house is at this point in time upturned by (what we already know to be) tornado, a portender of future events yet to be experienced in Wizard of Oz. It is the time sequence of verisimilitude, things unfolding in a parallel time frame, which now have added meaning and portent when viewed with both foresight and hindsight from the perspective of the prequel.

Frank L.Baum's created characters of Dorothy, the lion, tin man, and the scarecrow appear in Andrew Foster's painting from the above exhibition. When I asked him about his frequent depiction of the Oz characters, amongst others, he replied that it has always been his favourite story. Of course, he is telling a different story in the interaction of the characters situated in a different content and context.

A Paula Rego lithograph from her illustrations of "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte. I loved reading the prequel to this book, "Wide Sargasso Sea" which I read many years later. Paula Rego read the prequel "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys before reading "Jane Eyre", which has definitely informed the content, if you know where to pick up the references. Below is one of her Wide Sargasso Sea paintings,the context of which she has transposed onto her own background of growing up in Portugal, and she had added her own content as well.

Whilst passing this shop window in New York one evening, besides loving the dress, and also the pose of the model from the back view, I knew immediately that it reminded me of Paula Rego's Jane Eyre.

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