Welcome ♥

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
...So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Clear Hearts & Grey Flowers ♥

There’s something about the deliberate emphasis of positive expression, the distinction an artist puts on a fantastical reality, within our reality that attracts me to their art. It’s beautiful, magnificent, unrealistic, innovative, even grotesque and bizarre. So before I go into why I am being exceedingly drawn into the world of Mark Ryden, here’s a brief account on the advent of surrealism. It began in the twentieth century as a literary and artistic movement, and flourished predominantly in Europe. The interest in surrealism grew out of the preceding Dada movement – art that focused on the idea of anti-war politics- and the rationale for its amplification, was not only the rise of World Wars I and II, but also the succinct fact that people began to see the flaws attributed to the destruction that came with the “rationalism” that was the main supporter of European customs and policies. André Breton, publisher of “The Surrealist Manifesto” and who is now recognized as the founder of Surrealism tried to generate the idea that Surrealism was to be used as a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience, in a world where dreams and fantasies collaborated and are brought forth to be viewed and critiqued in our “rational” world. According to Breton, in order to classify this type of work as “genius” you need to access a generally unexploited realm, search deep within your soul and combine your feelings, your intimate fantasies, and dreams and this advice is to be adhered by poets and artists alike. Fortunately for art lovers like myself, this movement continues to prosper in all corners of this globe producing some of the best art ever to be seen.

As for Mark Ryden, he came to dominate the surrealistic world in the 1990’s, a time where artists and critics alike were eagerly awaiting the return of the art of painting. Although Ryden’s work can be classified as surrealistic, he seems to surpass the initial Surrealistic techniques by choosing subject matters that are quite diverse from the previous ones painted by artists such as Salvador Dali – another favorite of mine- Ryden is permeated with ambiguity and would rather attribute the drastic boundaries of his imagery to the intricate and convoluted composition of those leaps of imagination that lie outside the limits of intentionality. Ryden fills his paintings with cultural connotation, in which the viewer feels reassured by the exquisiteness and beauty of the painting only to be transported into the intended world where oddity and idiosyncrasy thrive within the culturally familiar. Dewy eyed vixens, alchemical symbols, cuddly plush pets, slabs of meat, religious emblems and primordial landscapes challenge the audience and allow the viewer to enter a world where childlike creatures filled with a sense of innocence and honesty live together in a world created by Ryden’s fingertips.

Amazingly, paintings are not Ryden’s only works; he has created a myriad of statues, ornaments, books, skeletons, and toys as well. The humorous yet intriguing thing about Ryden’s work is that if it is menacing, it is still immersed in an inexorable ray of reassurance. If it is morbid, it still manages to emanate life and verve. If it is tainted and cruel, it is so with such a pure innocence that we must attribute that idea to our own sullied minds. You don’t have to like his art to know that Mark Ryden does have talent, a talent so miscellaneous, extraordinary and unique that he allows us to delve into his personal idea of reality, and although his paintings are obscure and very surreal in nature, we all manage to find a way to connect with his passion.

So here’s my question to you; would you rather merge in with the norm and prolong the traditional theme of exclusively believing and following what seems to be “rational”, or would you select the other path, be exceptional and innovative, and even start your own movement? Oh, if you are looking to see more of Mark Ryden follow this link, and enjoy the video.  :)