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 (rather than deductive) method
of understanding. His paintings may tell a story, 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 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 creative technique is found in the painting, Day After
Summer. In this work, Mulleian makes use of a range of feeling-toned detail.
The Coca Cola bottle cap, a battered old roller skate, fallen, drying, dying
autumn leaves, a ball and single jack; all engage the viewer's memory and feeling
in an affectionate, familiar way. Yet, each of these objects represents an activity
or outlook representing 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 possibilities. At the spectrum's
other end, to the right of the skate, are the toy soldiers, one fallen, one
firing his weapon, a hint at impending realities, of death and duty, of conflict,
killing and being killed in the service of collective might. Surrounding this
trio of images are the leaves, newly fallen to dry and brittle, suggesting the
passage of time, the progression of the seasons; while the ball and single jack
suggest the future challenges of frustrated aspiration and 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 statement about a single moment in time.
Yet, at the center of the 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.