a new meaning to realism, of such magnificent completeness.
in the world of art today. Here the artist poses
its nature, meaning, and passage,
with a view toward
learning of time’s effects upon our inner experience
in an hypnotic
summer breeze, as innocence releases its grip from the distant sounds
as life to death foreshadowed in a fallen toy soldier,
reposing within a world of trust in an era of unquestioning
in a Coca Cola bottle cap of a post-war era, fades into the seasons, in fallen
A ball invites
a game of jacks with only a single jack, a precursor of things to come, prismatic
light in the memories
of a passing day that still play under shaded trees.
who is familiar with Mulleians body of work will know that his paintings
are seldom intended to be taken strictly at face value, though at first glance,
most of his work, whether classified as landscape, still life, or allegory,
might rightly be assumed to be a just-so interpretation of its original subject.
However, more often than not, things are not quite precisely what they seem
at first glance, despite the photographic realism or attention given to detail.
Almost universally, the subject matter in his various works function as metaphor,
representing a diverse range of psychological, historical, frequently supernatural
perspectives, each assembly of images, in virtually every case, embodying multiple
layers of meaning. Across the broad spectrum of his work, from the naturalistic
arrangement of familiar objects in everyday settings, to the fractured reality
created by thrown together objects, Mulleian produces an unforeseen,
poignantly transcendent unity out of what initially seem to be unrelated elements.
His provocative juxtaposition of images is meant to incline the viewer to enquiry,
and compel a reflective but necessarily inductive method of pursuit. His paintings
may tell a story, as if to imply a complexity of meaning by inference or association,
or simply register a reflective observation in a somber or quizzical way. But
in almost every work, we are given a puzzle designed to engage, confound, and
ultimately, illuminate insight within the viewer. The objective of this strategy,
essentially providing the viewer with a framework of concepts intended to blend
disparate elements into unexpected harmony, is defined by the term holotropic,
meaning, oriented to or moving towards wholeness. It is a subtle,
intuitive method of creation for both the artist and, ultimately, for the viewer
as well. In terms of intention and expression, each work is a poetic reality
designed to propel discovery, often to a poignant, startling or sublime end
when all the pieces are finally linked together in the viewers understanding.
simple example of this inductive technique is found in the painting, Day
After Summer. In that work, Mulleian makes use of a range of Rorschach-like,
asymmetrical, feeling-toned details. The Coca Cola bottle cap, a battered old
roller skate, fallen, drying, dying autumn leaves, a ball and single jack; all
engage the viewers memory and feeling in an affectionate, familiar way.
Yet, each of these objects represents an activity or outlook exemplifying past,
present or future reality. The roller skate at the center of the composition
might be seen as an agency of intention. It is synonymous with the playful freedom
and expectant optimism of childhood, a nostalgic remnant of a more innocent
past; while pleasure, perhaps even addictive, indulgent pleasure, emblematic
in the image of a bottle cap to the left of the skate, suggests one end of an
innocent spectrum of tempting possibilities. At the spectrums other end,
to the right of the skate, are the toy soldiers, one fallen, one firing his
weapon, a hint at impending realities, of not so innocent risks of death and
duty, of conflict, in the service of collective might or misplaced expectations.
Surrounding this trio of images are the leaves, newly fallen as well as dry
and brittle, suggesting the passage of time, the progression of the seasons;
while the ball and single jack suggest the future challenges and reoccurring
patterns of frustrated aspiration wedded to insufficient means. The painting
is not so much a narrative as it is a subtly complex meditation on common parameters
within the arch of a single lifespan, set in the frame of sublime, idyllic unconsciousness.
The initial feeling of the work is one of natural, static reality; a just-so
reflection on a single moment in time. Yet, at the center of this meditation
there is a hint of the cyclical infinity of finite things, the implied potentials
of universal patterns that form the unifying contours of human life.