Checkmate by JP Mcglaughlin is another in the red coat series, a popular range of paintings by the international artist however the twist on this particular piece is eye-catching and gives a new slant on the whole series.
In traditional form for the Redcoats, we see the woman in the left of the framing looking out to the sea, the cold grey tones of the painting are only broken up by her solitary stance as she looks to the horizon. She almost always appears in this type of environment with her signature coat a flash of colour in her bleak yet beautiful surroundings, an enigmatic figure standing tall.
Checkmate has something of a dreamlike quality, the sky is dominated by what is the end of a chess match giving it a surreal quality that potentially could confuse the eye but in actual fact draws you deeper into the narrative the image creates.
Looking broadly at the painting we see the woman in red standing alone, possibly deep in thought about her life and the chess piece along with the building are representative of the end goal of her thoughts as she stands with her back to the world in contemplation.
Much of the image has a cold, blustery feel giving her depth and significance, bringing her to the foreground simply by her colour and tone, her singular stance gives her a significance that draws you in and opens you to questioning her status. Who is she? Where has she come from? And what is her story? The enigmatic figure could be anyone and that is what makes her such an appealing figure and this painting draws you that little bit deeper into her story or at least opens up the scope to create your own.
She could easily be a tragic figure standing alone in contemplation, or as I prefer to think of her, a wanderer who enjoys her own company and in the depth of her thoughts has created a little stroke of colour in what is otherwise a bleak world.
The chess set is intriguing though, always associated with tactics and depth of thought, the context of the painting changes completely and will again, be open to interpretation and give the viewer their own sense of belonging and ownership of the narrative they create.
Something that has made the Red Coat series such a significant artwork is the openness of the dialogue that can be created and that it ultimately reflects the viewer, JP has created a painting series that is both beautiful and deep in an existential sense that narratively will change with you over time depending on your mindset, a bleak and yet intellectually challenging piece that has just enough warmth to give you hope in the darkness.
To learn more about the artist see his website: https://jpmclaughlin.co.uk/