Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Dead

Detail from "The Dead"  Tom Cullen   Oil on Canvas 2007

                            "The Dead" is a short story written by James Joyce as part of the "Dubliners" collection published in 1914. It is the last story in the book and unites the previous themes covered in the collection. The intention in writing Dubliners, Joyce said was that the city of Dublin seemed to him the centre of paralysis. By this, Joyce meant the inability to act, move or grow beyond where one is spiritually and emotionally alive - the inability to live fully.Considered one of the most beautifully executed stories in the English language, "The Dead" was the culmination of Joyce's critical and ironic portraits of everyday life in the turn of the century Dublin.
                             I wanted to interpret this short story in a way in which the American abstract artist Mark Rothko might have done, but also using my own expression and particularly giving attention to the last emotional lines.In this,the central character Gabriel reflecting on his wife Gretta's tragic love, suggests that the living might in fact be able to free themselves to live unfettered by deadening routines and the past. In every corner of Ireland, snow touches both the dead and the living uniting them. The painter Rothko, tragically commited suicide in 1970 whilst nine of the famous Seagram murals were being transported to the Tate gallery in London. The film "The Dead" was the also the last film which John Huston directed, released posthumously in 1987.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Bacchus and Ariadne

                                Bacchus and Ariadne                Tom Cullen        Oil on paper. 2008.   

"Bacchus and Ariadne" is a contemporary interpretation of the painting by Titian which hangs in the National Gallery,London. According to the classical writers Ovid and Catulius, Bacchus,the god of wine emerged with his followers and falling in love with Ariadne on sight, leaped from his chariot towards her.She had been abandoned on the Greek island of Naxo by Thebes.Titian's painting shows her initial fear of Bacchus,but he raises her to heaven and turns her into a constellation, represented by the stars above her head.
I intentionally used lively and vivid colour to metaphorically represent and evoke the spirit of this classical painting by Titian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Bacchus and Ariande by Titian 1520-1523