As much as I am passionate about creating three dimensional works and papercutting, I love animation, both digital and manual (handmade) animations. My art teacher recommended me the exhibition held at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) called The Nightingale and The Rose, so I visited it during this term 2 school holiday. This exhibition was all about the collaborative process of producing an animation by artist, filmmaker, art director, designer, voice actress, singer and sound engineer. The animation was created based on the artist Del Kathryn Barton’s artworks for Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and The Rose. While the individual components in the film such as backgrounds, character designs, use of colours and atmospheres reflect Barton’s unique aesthetic quality and distinctive style, it gives a depth to the world of Oscar Wilde’s original story – the mixture of realistic and imaginative elements peppered.
First, I watched the animation in the small theatre located at the centre of the exhibition space. The animation was so dense and deep right from the beginning, with countless layers of hand crafted plants and animals, watercolour illustrations, computer graphics, visual effects and moving patterned backgrounds. The amount of work involved in each second was immeasurable. The depiction of the nightingale’s pain close to the end of the film was convey to the audience through both visual and audio communications, which constructed a sense of tension in the theatre. The darkness represented through use of colours, tones and heavy somewhat minor audio questions the audience whether it was a tragedy of the nightingale, or her sacrifice to what she believed as helping a true lover, or something else; the animation created the specific emotion that harmonised with the idea of having no happy ending.
In the exhibition there were several props in three dimensional forms created from Barton’s drawings. For example, the Daughter’s hair and dress made in the life size, providing the volume and a degree of human quality to the character. Another thing I found very interesting was how the transformation of the white rose in to the red rose was created. The behind-the-scene video showed a creator filming the gradual change of colour of the rose’s stalk as he was dropping red ink on the paper (made like a stalk). The steady, step by step process must have been the key to the completion of detailed, rich and powerful animation.
The exhibition is open until 11 September 2016 at Gallery 2 on ground level. It is a free exhibition.