Oaxaca Church
By Paul Furneaux

Reg. Number
102 x 72 cm

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This colourful oil painting depicts a white church in Oaxaca, Mexico, and it is filled with symbolic elements. A young woman stands in front of the church, holding a pair of anthropomorphic figures that may represent dolls or children. Behind her, there is a crowd gathered outside the church beneath a pair of trees. The warm colours of the crowds and the central figure contrast with the cool blue aura that surrounds the church itself, and the textures of the oil are rich and thick. The exact nature of the scene is unclear, since the exact age of the woman is uncertain: is she a girl playing with dolls? Or a mother carrying her children? Why is the crowd gathered outside the church? What is the significance of the angels on the girl's skirt?

This piece was produced in 1995, four months after Furneaux returned to Mexico, where he had a large exhibition at the Anglo-Mexican Institute. He states that the piece is about the relationship between an animistic tradition and Christianity, and one can see pre-Christian elements such as the lizard-shape besides the figure contrast with Christian imagery like the angels on the figure's dress.

Paul Furneaux was born in Aberdeen in 1962. He graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1986 and earned a distinction for his Post Graduate diploma in 1987. He was a recipient of the Miller Homes Award, which gave him a bursary and studio in Paris for one year. He has also travelled to Japan and Mexico on scholarships, and both cultures left a lasting impression on his printmaking. In 2000, he received a Masters in woodblock printing from Tama Art University, Tokyo.

In 2003, Furneaux took up a short residency at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Connecticut. He has worked as a part-time lecturer around Scotland and teaches Japanese watercolour woodblock printing at edinburgh Printmakers. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions as well as mounting several one-man shows in Scotland, Japan, Mexico and the United States. His numerous awards include the Visual Arts Scotland Richard Coley Award for Sculptors (2013), the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour John Gray Award (2013) and the Royal Scottish Academy William Gilles bequest (2011).

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