"Spirit of Marc Chagall"

Mosaic Exhibition 2009

Liz Philpott

Liz Philpott
Work in progress
Close up
"Looking Back Through Time"

Artist Statement

“Looking Back Through Time”

Although I was hoping for inspiration throughout my research on Marc Chagall, I was left even more confused as his style was so unique and where on earth was I to begin?
Finally it was obvious - I’d become deeply trapped in a logical, linear, left ‘thinking’ brain and needed to get into a little ‘right brain ’creativity. So I stayed up until 3.00 am one morning (a happy ‘night owl’) and just started doodling with pen and paper.
It became clear very quickly that before my mosaic could take form I needed a title first. As I thought of something that Marc Chagall once said, “My paintings are my memories”, the title “Looking Back Through Time” flashed into mind. The play on words and literal translation of this instantly gave me ‘an eye and a clock’ and the license to let go of any inhibitions or expectations and just trust whatever came up. It was the title which offered me the goal to aim for and from nowhere (it seemed) ideas then freely flowed. Inspiration had finally struck!!
I loved some of the ‘quirkyisms’ in Chagall’s work! From the confusion of wondering why he would paint heads upside down came the understanding (from a Yiddish expression) that “the man turns the girls head” and Chagall decided to paint this literally. There are many more examples in his work.
My own interpretation reveals some aspects of my own life including my love of travel and the many homes I’ve lived in here in UK and abroad. A lifetime’s dream of buying a camper van has recently been fulfilled and so the ladder leads to this and ‘living on cloud 9’. There are other visible numbers in the clock - 1, 2 and 6 while others are left to imagination. The number 11 is concealed in the Eiffel Tower which represents personal memories for me and Chagall’s love of Paris. The ‘big hand’ on the clock caused a chuckle and the tent on the small hand brings the joy of space and freedom and getting back in touch with nature and the simple things in life. Of course life wouldn’t exist without the light, brightness and warmth of sunshine and blossoming flowers, which Chagall also loved. The apple represents the beginning of time (maybe!) and there’s a silver moon to balance day and signify a time for rest and recovery. The three hearts represent my lovely children and the sea of tears, in memory of my little daughter. Yet within this deep watery expanse, life inevitably continues to thrive as depicted by the fish. This is also sustenance for life, and the boat - the ability to fish or cross oceans and find new horizons. The flying angel and the dove of peace is of great personal significance, but also embraces Chagall reaching out to people’s hearts and the love that he feels for everyone, in the search and hope for peace and harmony in the world.
As a painter of dreamscapes 97 year old Chagall was a story teller and as a storyteller he was indeed one of the most spirited and unique artists that the 20 century was fortunate enough to embrace. Personally were it not for taking up the challenge (and it was!!) of being inspired by Chagall, I would never have found ‘somewhere’ deep within that was capable of ‘letting go’ and expressing some of the memories from my own life in the very satisfying and revealing art form of mosaics. In the arts as in life everything is possible.

Contact Details:

Return to main page

Contact Us