June 27,2006
When Art Gets Personal

When Art Gets Personal Did you know that when you stop to look at a painting, you are undoubtedly looking into the soul of another person? A painting is not just something pretty (or depending on opinion, something ugly) it acts as messenger. It wants to tell you something. Do you stop to listen? Do you hear the voice of the soul that wants to whisper in your ear? Listen as the artist says, "I want to show you things strange and forgotten." "I want to tell you what I see when I look at you, at the world, at myself." "I want to show you how, when reflected in others, we are small." "I want to show you, when the sun stands behind us, our shadows are long." "I want you to notice how the stem bends way over when the wind gets rough, but then straightens again in the calm." "I want to show you how, even in the darkest of dark, the light filters through." Perhaps the artist asks a question? "Why does the sunlight merely graze the flower's petals and not penetrate the deep centre?" "Have you noticed how light bounces and distorts in the shadows?" "Do you see that within a teardrop there is darkness and shadow, reflection and light?" A painting embodies the soul and spirit of the artist. Wrapped around pigment are emotion, awareness, voice, heart and spirit. Some paintings express these aspects in gentle ways, ways that evoke feelings of joy, nostalgia or serenity. Some artists are louder; their pain will not be content to lie in the shadows, hiding beneath the leaves in a stream. Frida Kahlo spoke of the struggles of the heart, of the will to live in a world of pain and torment. At the time of her death, her art was fully recognized for its raw voice and uninhibited expression. There was a turning point reached long ago, whereby Frida threw off the subtleties and embraced full disclosure, without the fear of rejection. She painted for nobody else save her soul. At 1 am this morning I had my Frida moment. No longer was I hiding in the shadows of my paintings but I was bold, blue and naked on the canvas. I was telling the story of me, of my pain. I was both storyteller and listener, artist and viewer. It was an awesome experience. I was free (well almost) from realism, from convention, from critique. I was purely expression! In my studio is a painting of Frida Kahlo I picked up in a Mexican store. It's a reproduction of course, "Self Portrait with Monkey." Frida perches there, watching me with a serene look on her face, watching what I will do next. Today I see myself as Frida staring outwards, staring back at myself and the monkey on my shoulder, arm outstretched around my neck is her, a presence light and quiet, whispering in my ear, "Do you see? See what art can do?"

Posted by Melanie Cossey at 11:11
Suzette Fram said...
Thank you, Melanie, for this. How beautifully put. You are a poet as well as a painter. Aug 20, 2006 02:48
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