Edvard Munch and The Attraction of Doom.

Edvard Munch‘s works have begun to mesmerize me. I can’t imagine how a man could exist in such darkness all his life. I’ve experienced darkness – at least twice in my life, and yet during these cold dark-spells, I’ve found some warmth from random flames flickering and glowing in my heart. Through these spells my loneliness had been complete like Munch’s, but for me these spells had a finite beginning and a finite end. Munch’s loneliness resulting from his early losses of his mom and sister, the demons of his father’s illness, the apparition that influenced him through his life – Hans Jæger, and his ferocious need to spill his anguish upon the canvas – they have come together to produce such nerve-jangling works of art that the viewer cannot help but feel the anxiety seep out of the paintings into your mind and soul.

I find myself wishing for the violence of Munch’s brush, the vein that fed the colors of his fevered imagination into his paintings – I know that for me, the pain will dull and eventually pass; I also know that I don’t exist in complete darkness like he did, and that for me this is temporal even temporary – I realize that I cannot stop seeing beauty and love and ambition and success in sudden flashes – these flashes pick me up and ready me for another go at life – unlike Munch.

Perhaps this is why Munch captures my imagination so completely. Despite his dark colors, the opposites of mine; I look at his works and wonder about the man and the artist. The artist, I understand. The need to express what he felt, that I understand. But the man – I don’t. And then I also ask myself the question whether I want to.

“From my rotting body,
flowers shall grow
and I am in them
and that is eternity.”
-Edvard Munch

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The Picture of Oscar Wilde – Caricature, Portrait, Reflection?

A few hours ago I finished reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the second time. When I had read it the first time, I was too young to understand the complexities the lie under the surface of the story.

In the preface of the book, Oscar Wilde says:

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.

Reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” after having read about Oscar Wilde’s own life, made me reflect on the character of Dorian Gray representing Oscar Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas in form and personality, but in his need to experiment and “feel” life, he appears closer to Oscar Wilde himself.

Despite my current pre-occupation with a deeper and more profound expression of art, I found myself caricaturing Oscar Wilde as a reflection of himself. I think that “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” lies on the cusp between realism and romanticism – and presents Wilde’s internal conflict not only about his sexual identity (for which he was arrested) but also about his leanings toward aestheticism.

Thus, I see Oscar Wilde as Dorian Gray, the Caliban who doesn’t want to see realism (his own aging portrait,) and who is tired of romanticism (the ideal forever young face that he has – because he knows that it’s unreal and not his own.)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present to you the picture and reflection of Oscar Wilde in the half-truth of Dorian Gray.

Caricature Portrait Reflection Picture of Oscar Wilde Dorian Gray Alfred Douglas and Caliban.

No Artist is Ever Morbid.

In the preface of “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Oscar Wilde says,

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

I’ve been drawing for decades. My earliest memories of drawing are from Kashmir. I was five. We lived in Ramban on the bank of river Chenab. In mornings, my mother would give me a bath, comb my hair, hand me a slate and sit me out in the porch so that I could get some sun. I could see the violently white waters of Chenab beating against the rocks that glistened as they reflected the morning light behind the green front yard that stretched between me and the river. I’m sure if the house was any closer to Chenab than it was, my mother wouldn’t leave me on the porch alone.

I would sit on the steps, wait for my Mom to bring me my breakfast (a fried egg and a glass of milk,) and draw. I wasn’t supposed to draw though. I was supposed to “write,” but I drew everything. The alphabet, the numbers, the steps, the flower, even the egg. (My mom used to tell me that when she asked me what it was, I told her that it was an “O” inside another “O.”)

So that’s where my artistic journey began – in a land that’s today torn by politics, terrorism, and separatism. The land that in my hazy memories is still the most beautiful place that I’ve ever lived in.

But I began this post with an Oscar Wilde quote, and I shouldn’t stray too far from what I intended saying.

I’ve been painting. Not caricatures, nor portraits – but I’ve been painting my consciousness. I don’t classify my art, mostly because I can’t. How do you classify a vision, a half-dream, a sub-conscious feeling so strong that it takes me by my spine and shakes me up…?

I don’t know if an artist can express everything – but as an artist, I attempt to capture those fleeting moments that scream with emotions. The violence of these moments, like the violence of Chenab, froths white and blue and red – and to express it, I need not just lines but colors – and so I sketch fast…the madness of those first sketches is so complete that the painting competes with the sketches to express it all… if it does it at all.

The galleries have long waitlists and it would be at least an year before my paintings are exhibited – until them, I remain their captive creator… until then, I also remain your absentee blogger, whose mind and heart never see eye to eye – but then whose does?