I was thinking of the Surrealist collaborative drawing game Exquisite Corpse when I approached these canvases and decided to play a game of sorts, but with myself.
" The name ‘cadavre exquis’ was derived from a phrase that resulted when they first played the game, ‘le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau’ (‘the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine’). "
I felt I might drink some new wine were I not to know from the outset and well before glancing brush to surface what exactly my women were up to.
Repurposing images from previous works I first painted these laughing women, mostly looking upwards into the space above them, then took a while to consider what they might be gazing at.
I ran through innumerable possibilities before ultimately deciding on the simplicity of the traces of some form of violent disruption in the air, signs remaining in the sky - the trails of a plane spiralling downward - gunshot smoke and birds flying off in rapid unity - a distress flare - a distant bonfire.
These traces in the sky called to mind a particular passage of Virginia Woolf.
And the title...
"Corpsing is when an actor breaks out into unscripted laughter. The term comes from the theater: The worst possible time to uncontrollably laugh would be on stage, playing a corpse."