Love, Passion and Desire - The Dance of Femininity and Masculinity and the Artist's Quest for Wisdom
“She is a wild tangled forest with temples and treasures concealed within.”
John Mark Green
“And he is the knight that will fight his way through the forest to seek the path that leads to the temple of buried treasures.”
from The Pre-Raphaelite exhibition Canberra
Women demanded new rights in the Victorian era, prompting societal concerns about female empowerment, and the threats to spiritual, familial and domestic expectations. The idea of women as mysterious, sensual and disruptive forces became a recurring theme in late nineteenth-century art and writing. The Lady of Shalott, for example, embodies the tragic consequences for the disobedient woman who succumbs to lust.
Goddesses, sorceresses and other mythical woman are depicted as strong female figures, powerful, manipulative and unknowable. They are also decorative and erotic, with lush jewellery, draperies and sensuous lighting. The intensity of colour, often rendered in shades of emerald or acid green, deepens the impact on the viewer…
Of late a lot of my art and creations have revolved around love, passion and desire. A concept I am intrinsically drawn to especially after my visit to the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition. However, looking further back to a when I was a teenager I can now recall that I have always been drawn to thoughts of love and passion throughout my entire life. I wrote many poems on love, passion, desire and heartbreak. Alas, they have long gone back to the earth!
I often ponder about these potentially volatile emotions, and the exhibition has made me ponder upon what it means to be a woman. A being of sensuality, divinity and femininity. A woman who has truly embraced the soul of her nature. But, what is the soul of her nature, and where do we find the answers? Equally so, these ponderings are applicable to men. What is a man? What is his true essence? What is the true nature of his soul? What defines him?
This then leads me to think about Yin and Yang, femininity and masculinity, which in turn leads to philosophising the concept of polarity or the paradoxes of life, once again. This is the way of Taoism where day/night, light/dark and good/evil etc. are in fact one and the same. There is no difference. Without one, the other would not exist. And, so it is the driving force of love, passion and desire. Man and woman, one with potential raw strength, and the other with the potential to be luscious and gentle. Without one the other would not exist. Cannot possibly exist. They are two essences, or energies that come together and beautifully dance and intertwine with one another. One leads and one follows, one seduces and one succumbs. One calls and the other answers. Two energies that are separate but at the same time are one.
What if we could truly tap into this concept? Truly understand the dynamics at play! What is true love? What is desire and passion? Why do we crave it? Is one good and one bad, right or wrong? Aren’t they one and the same? What could be more beautiful than the two energies coming together in a union of love, passion and desire? Is desire and passion a yearning of the spirit to experience this human life? How many amazing things have come about or been driven by these emotions? Granted there would be some not so good things, but then again, it’s the same thing, an energy! It can be amazingly constructive, and devastatingly destructive. An energy that encompasses all, happiness, contentment, sadness, fear and jealousy. And again, without one the other can not exist. We take risks, we relentlessly pursue love and hope that we find ‘The One” who will satisfy the soul’s yearning. This is how it has always been. Poems, stories, sonnets and songs are constantly being written about love, desire and passion. Artists throughout history have tried to portray this through art in one form or another.
So as artists are we blessed to be able to explore the answers to these questions? Are we blessed to be passionate in our quest for an understanding of life and human emotions? Or are we cursed because these questions seem to lead to more questions? When we think we may be gaining wisdom, there are more questions!
How has one question led to so many other questions, and still there are no clear answers. In the end by exploring the concepts of love, passion and desire are we really just searching for our inner truth and connection to higher self? Are we seeking the universe (God) within us through love, passion and desire?