“Those who read the symbol do so at their peril” –Oscar Wilde
Finding a piece of art that excels all others is finding a piece of one’s own soul by accident. Why is it that this piece stood out above all others? Why is it that this piece intrigued thy mind? Why is this piece creating a calamity in the mind? Why is this piece so eccentric? These questions arose with the piece I chose. As I looked around the room I could not find anything that gave me an awe feeling; I could not find an art piece that was thought provoking; I could not find a piece that caught my eye. As time was running out, my eyes caught a glimpse of something oddly beautiful. It was a painting of a woman. She had black hair with blue stripes, or I guess it could go either way, well, her face was painted the way people paint their faces on the Mexican holiday of “El Dia de los Muertos” or “The Day of the Dead.” It was painted to the form of a skull, but what was amazing about it was the perfect beauty that remained within her face in the painting, even though death is seen as a horrid state in the end of the human life. Although she wasn’t dead, or so I perceived it, I found it quite odd that the artist gave it such a lively tone in the eyes and some key facial features, such as the cheeks and the chin, and yet she had a serious tone in her lip and eyebrow areas, a tone that one knew this was death looking straight at them.
In the quote above, Oscar Wilde, in literal translation, says that those who find symbol [in art] do so at their own risk. Is it because one tends to overanalyze meaning? Do we find retched truths of ourselves in things such as the piece I found above? I thought that the meaning of the piece was that death can be a beautiful thing, it just depends on the way one perceives it. It could be possible that the artist just meant to make it for the Mexican festivity, but when I, the critic, saw it, I found something deep inside of myself that I hadn’t seen before. I found death to be very lovely. Not in the sense of, “I want to kill myself,” but as the movement of what life is in the end. The movement where