"El Cardinal, or Many Hands Light Work",
takes it's inspiration from a series of works in the National Gallery, the foremost of which being Philippe de Champaigne's portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu in his Cardinal's robes. This piece is part of a larger study that aims to question the role that Drapery has played in art from classical sculptures to contemporary painting and drawing. A medium of concealment, disguise and adornment, drapery functions on many levels, and can act as a vehicle for all kinds of high emotion. Drapery is present and plays a crucial role in nearly all commonly depicted biblical and religious scenes, from the Pieta to The Descent from the Cross, but is always sidelined, passed over as mere decoration. This series aims to bring the versatility, sinuousness and often sinister qualities of drapery into the foreground of the works. In this piece, the Cardinals' robes are displayed alone, minus the cardinal that would ordinarily prop them up, which they would ordinarily adorn. In this reworking they take on a life of their own, disembodied hands lurk in the heavy, fur-lined folds of the cloth, taken from paintings that deal with more sinister themes; The execution of Lady Jane Grey, Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom, and Susanna and the Elders, all of which feature the abuse of women as their core themes.