Darren Power has worked in the animation industry in Europe, USA, and Asia for over 12 years. Born in 1970, he began painting in the early 90’s on community and commissioned painting projects in public spaces and sold and exhibited his solo work through the Harrison Gallery in Dublin. After several years of living in Europe working for Animation Studios, he moved to Vietnam in 2000 to work as Art Director for Bottlerocket Stop Motion Animation Studio, then as Art Director for Glass Egg Digital Media. Darren has collaborated in a variety of music, film and live art performances, yet his main focus has been on his paintings. Influenced by the rich history, sculpture and architecture of South East Asia, Darren has produced a large collection of photo-realistic acrylic paintings that explore the iconic figures that pervade myths and legends. He has recently exhibited internationally at The Private Collector Gallery, Cork, Ireland (2007-8),The Private Collector Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus (2008), Q Bar, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2008), The Deck, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2008), L'entete Gallery, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam (2009), The Living Room, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2009), FLOW, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2010). VinGallery, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2012-2013), Instore Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2013-2014).
My previous work was originally inspired by a trip to Angkor Watt, particularly the faces of Jayavarman VII from the Bayon Temple. There was such an intensity emanating from these ancient stone portraits that I began to consider the affectivity of such iconic images, their ongoing potential to resonate through cultural and historical barriers and the manner in which they de-territorialized the viewer. The Cambodian carvings led me to investigate Egyptian, Mayan, Roman and Greek historical figures, and I began to question the efficacy of an image transformed from stone or wood to paint, and whether these portraits could become humanized, whether they could become ‘other’. I work by building up layers of paint to create large, highly realistic images. The paintings vary from a smooth application of paint, to something more textured. Most of the work depicts stone and wood, and the 3-Dimensional quality inherent in the painting is produced by this attention to texture and form.
As my practice has developed, I have been influenced by painters such as Nguyen Tan Cuong, Phuong Quoc Tri and Vikki Hill who fluidly incorporate a sense of collage and layering within their figurative compositions. The series‘Fragments’is rooted in the history of Angkor, particularly the destruction, looting and rebuilding of the temples. These mixed media paintings are situated in the hiatus between construction and deconstruction and explore the cyclical nature of development through a variety of textures, images and sections of paint which appear to be almost pieced together.
AKHENATENacrylic on canvas 120cm x85cm Akhenaten , born Amenhotep III (Reign 1350– 1334 BC) Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. Father of Tutankhamun.
Akhenaton is famous for introducing monotheism (one god) to Egypt. His god was Aten, the visible disk of the sun. His promotion of one deity has earned him the title of "The Heretic Pharaoh". While in power he outlawed all other religions, after his death a systematic eradication of all memory of Akhenaten took place, and no complete statue of him exists today. He is also responsible for introducing naturalism into Egyptian art. Unlike previous Pharaohs who appeared powerful with idealised muscular physiques, he allowed the representation of his true appearance, which was slightly deformed due to a medical condition to be portrayed.
SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMAacrylic on canvas 120cm x85cm Siddhartha (Japanese design) (563 BC - 483 BC)
Religious leader, founder of Buddhism, born at Lumbini in Nepal, and raised in his father's palace at Kapilavastu. At the age of 29 he left his wife and son and a life of luxury, to resolve the problems of existence. After six years of austerity he realized that asceticism, like overindulgence, was futile, and chose the Middle Way of meditation. He became enlightened under a bodhi tree near Bodhgaya in Bihar, India. He began teaching at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and founded the Sangha, or order of monks. He spent the rest of his life travelling around northern India, and died at Kusinagara. His first teaching took place at the Deer Park in Benares. It was there that he expounded his "Four Noble Truths," which are the foundation of all Buddhist belief: 1.) All human life is suffering (dhukka ). 2.) All suffering is caused by human desire, particularly the desire that impermanent things be permanent. 3.) Human suffering can be ended by ending human desire.4.) Desire can be ended by following the "Eightfold Noble Path": right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Achilles, in Greek mythology, greatest of the Greek warriors in the Trojan War. He was the son of the sea nymph Thetis and Peleus, king of the Myrmidons of Thessaly. When the Fates prophesied that Achilles would die in the Trojan War, Thetis attempted to make her infant son immortal. In one version of the story, Thetis rubbed Achilles with ambrosia and placed him in the hearth fire to make him immortal. According to a later legend, she bathed him in the River Styx. The waters made him invulnerable except for the heel by which his mother held him.
Goddess of strategic warfare and heroic endeavor. Patron goddess of Athens.
According to legend, Athena sprang fully-grown and fully-armed from the head of her father, Zeus, ruler of the gods on Mount Olympus. It is told that he swallowed his pregnant first wife, Metis, meaning wisdom, so that she would not bear a child stronger than he. In some versions of the story, Athena's birth was assisted by the blacksmith, Hephaestus, who opened Zeus's head with a stroke of his axe.
ALEXANDER acrylic on canvas 120cm x 85cm Alexander (356BC-323BC)
Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the nature of the ancient world in little more than a decade. Alexander was born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia. His parents were Philip II, King of Macedon, and his wife Olympias. Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Philip was assassinated in 336 BC. Against overwhelming odds, Alexander led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat. The young king of Macedonia became Great King of Persia at the age of 25. Over the next eight years in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered around two million square miles. Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his soldiers. The fact that his army only refused to follow him once in 13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired. He died of a fever in Babylon in June 323 BC.
SMILING BUDDHAacrylic on canvas 120cm x 85cm Smiling Buddha (Cambodian design)
Khmer civilisation was influenced by it's Indian counterpart. The portrayal of the facial features in this seventh/eight century Buddha from the period of Dvaravati, a Buddhist kingdom in the Menam Delta, is inspired by Gupta art, which flourished in India between the fourth and sixth centuries.
(1370 BC - 1330 BC) Egyptian Queen and chief wife of Akhenaten.
Although Nefertiti was not Akhenaten´s only wife, she was clearly greatly loved by the Pharaoh, and seems to have been given a very prominent role in the religious and political life of Egypt. Akhenaten is regularly depicted displaying affection for Nefertiti and her daughters in a unrestrained show of emotion which is pretty much unique to Egyptian art. In one inscription the king described his beloved queen as; "the Mistress of Happiness, Endowed with Favors, at hearing whose voice the King rejoices, the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands, Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, May she live for Ever and Always".
K'INICH JANAAB' PAKALacrylic on canvas 120cm x 85cm K'inich Janaab' Pakal (603-683)
During the height of the classic Maya civilisation Lord Pacal ruled the empire of Nah Chan Palenque (in present day Chiapas Mexico) for 52 years.He is revered as the chief engineer who guided the Mayan mission of inscripting stone monuments with precise astronomical and astrological information during the 10th Baktun (435-830AD). Pacal saw expansion of Palenque's power in the western part of the Maya states, and initiated a building program at his capital that produced some of Maya civilization's finest art and architecture. After his death, Pacal the Great was worshiped as a god, and said to communicate with his descendants. He was buried within the Temple of Inscriptions. It has been noted that Mayan eyesight was far more powerful than today, although even with acute eyesight, it would be difficult to account for how the Maya knew of 400 stars in the 7 Sisters constellation the Pleiades (called Tzab in Mayan) whereas today we can only spot 6 with the naked eye. Even with today's most progressive technology, we cannot produce a more accurate set of astronomical calculations, nor whole-systems understanding of the living Universe than that of the Classic Maya.
According to Hesiod when Kronos (Cronos) had cut off his father’s genitals, he tossed them into the sea. The immortal flesh eventually spread into a circle of white foam... from this foam, Aphrodite was created. Her name literally means foam-born. She was attended by Eros (the primal god of Love) and Himeros when she was first born but when she stepped ashore on the island of Kypros (Cyprus) she was a “modest and lovely Goddess”, since known as the Lady of Kypros.
JAYAVARMAN VIIacrylic on canvas 120cm x 85cm Jayavarman VII (c. 1120/25 —c. 1215/19) King of the Khmer Empire
The Khmer Empire reached the height of it's glory under the rulership of Jayavarman VII. In his late fifties he led his people in a struggle for independence after their subjugation by the Cham. He was crowned king of a reconstituted Khmer empire at 61. He ruled more than 30 years and brought the empire to its zenith in terms both of territorial extent and of royal architecture and construction. Champa, southern Laos, and portions of the Malay Peninsula and Myanmar (Burma) came under his control. He built temples, hospitals, and rest houses, and rebuilt the city of Angkor (now called Angkor Thom). His dedication to both the spiritual and physical needs of the people has made him a national hero to modern Cambodians. Most statues show his features to be a blend of both his and Buddha, always seen meditating yet radiating charasmatic power.
CAESAR acrylic on canvas 120cm x 85cm Caesar (100-44 BC)
Roman military and political leader
Caesar is remembered as one of history's greatest generals and a key ruler of the Roman empire. As a young man he rose through the administrative ranks of the Roman republic, accumulating power until he was elected consul in 59 B.C. Over the next 15 years he led Roman armies against enemies abroad, especially in Gaul, while fighting Pompey and others for political control at home. In 45 B.C. he reached his ultimate success, being named dictator of Rome for life. That rule was short-lived: the next year he was stabbed to death in the Senate by a group led by his follower Marcus Junius Brutus.
Senusret I (1971 BC to 1926 BC) 2nd pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt
Senusret I ascended to the throne after the murder of his father, Amenemhet I. For the first time that we know of in Egyptian history, Senusret I was made a co-regent in the 20th year of Amenemhet I's rule, and so was by the time of his father's death firmly established as the heir to the throne. Therefore, regardless of the intentions of the conspirators, he managed to ascend the throne with little difficulty. Senusret I is responsible for a building programme in which many temples all over the country were for the first time rebuilt in stone or at least decorated with stone elements, with inscriptions and images of the king. He also had two, massive 20 meter (66 foot) red granite obelisks erected on the occasion of his jubilee celebrating his 30th year in office. These monoliths would have weighed 121 tons each. One of the pair remains the oldest standing obelisk in Egypt.