Richard Marquis - Razzle Dazzle Boat (2010)
On Sunday 28 August 2011, Elizabeth wrote:
It's been extremely busy around here - as usual during the summer holidays - and we've enjoyed settling in to 'Songs of the Sea' in the Contemporary Gallery. There's a bit of a difference this time around - not all of the walls are painted white. We decided to expand upon the colourful Razzle Dazzle Boats by Richard Marquis and add a bit of dazzle camouflage to the gallery. Jenny and I spent a couple of days during installation laying out and painting the design, so naturally we're quite fond of it! It was a challenge to find the right combination of colours that would complement all of the works while also making them stand out individually.
Dazzle camouflage was originally used in naval warfare in both World Wars. Developed as a response to the difficulty of camouflaging ships in all types of weather, the designs were meant to fool the human eye and make it hard to discern specific areas and shapes of a vessel (stern, hull, etc.) for targeting. The designs were deliberately random and colourful, giving the ships a very Modernist look.
Richard Marquis used this idea to create his Razzle Dazzle Boats, which are even more crazily-patterned than the originals. He fused coloured glass and then ground it down with a wheel to achieve the desired shapes - that's what gives the boats their interesting texture, as if they are another material entirely. Marquis, who has studied Venetian glassmaking methods extensively, tends to focus more on the techniques used to create a piece rather than on conceptualising his works, which gives them a deceptively simple and straightforward appearance.