Pigeon Eyeshadow painting depicts a tableau vivant of Western individualism and will to power vs. Eastern wisdom and intuition.
On the right of the painting, monks stand in a cross-section of a Buddhist temple, contemplating a monumental Tibetan mandala.
On the opposite side, a gameshow host is on stage with the spinner wheel landing on a winning combination, the apocalyptic light beams above from fortuitously recreating professional stage lighting.
I was inspired to do this after contemplating how similar the Tibetan mandala (left images) looks to a gameshow spinner (right images), even though they have contradictory purposes.
The mandala is a spiritual tool, aiming to induce a meditative state of existential contemplation.
Whereas the purpose of a gameshow spinner is to attempt to bargain with or to gamble with life: this egotistical scheming flies in the face of the Buddhist precept of ‘non-attachment’.
So, are we to take a step back and simply admire the mandala of life, or do we attempt to try our luck and gamble with this fortune wheel we call life?
In the bottom left hand corner of the painting, a woman with her back to us uses a pigeon’s iridescent neck as an eyeshadow palette.
A lightning bolt strikes the water in front of her, prompting it spurt up like a geyser and acting as a mirror, reflecting the scene back at us.
I attribute my attention to detail to my mother Phyllis Cohen who was a part of the New Romantics movement as a makeup artist in the 80s, her best known work being the Pink Floyd back catalogue.
One could also draw comparisons of this scene to Dalí’s Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Waking (1944).
Dalí created scenes that were so impossibly choreographed so as to defy reality, but we allow him to simply take us on his imaginative leaps of faith because they were so aesthetically intelligent.
In my scene, the lightning bolt is striking the water in such a way so as to perfectly reflect the scene back at the viewer but since its made out of water it would not work practically as a makeup mirror for the woman.
I based the full painting compositionally and colour-wise off of Dalí’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus.
The full painting effects a similar grandiosity to Dalí’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus. His piece depicts a crumbling Hellenic hubris:
“The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal” Paglia, (1990).