If there were a garden that somehow embodied all the desires of this world, what a dazzling, resplendent and fearsome place it would be. Deeply intoxicating scents carried on warm breezes. Dewy and impossibly radiant flowers reaching towards our shadowy lives: inviting, sparkling and open.


In preparation for this piece, I taped wallpaper to corrugated cardboard, cut an elliptical hole out of it, stuck an oval frame on the hole and directed light from the other side of the portal onto my expressive model. I taped together little pieces of Black Wrap near the portal to create interesting shadow effects. Next, I photographed some flowers in my neighbourhood that had caught my eye because of the eccentric quality of their petals. I discovered they belong to a genus of plants called Datura that have toxic hallucinogenic effects if ingested—a dangerous dimension that fit well with the theme of all-consuming desire.


The silver leaf and steel components of the custom frame for this drawing complement the metallic element represented in the drawing. The shadows and foliage that caress the legs of a reclining woman and the velvety blacks in between the leaves and flowers are all parts of the sexual anatomy of this image. As an artist, it is pure fun to play with these interweaving elements.



After having seen a dance improvisation where a mannequin was used as a dance partner, I imagined an individual who interacts with a mannequin’s detached hands as surrogates for the real touch of another. Here, the gap between artifice and reality is a wistful and melancholic space to inhabit.




Hopes and dreams give our lives meaning. But living out our lives in a perpetual state of desire makes for a perpetually unfulfilled existence. It has been argued that only by relinquishing desire can true serenity be experienced. The sensual woman and the butterfly representation speak of desire, flight and promise of freedom. The snake, close to the earth and seemingly without emotion, speaks to actual freedom. It does not desire, in the human sense, and does not wish to fly, therefore it already tastes the freedom that others forever crave.



To be desirous of things and experiences has led to both creative and destructive acts through the ages. The chemistry of desire has prompted countless artists, lovers and warriors to engage the world and each other in their common quest for fulfillment. The consequences of these actions remain for those who follow to behold. 

An exploration of love, imagination, creativity, violence and blood are brought together in this drawing. Here, I wish to express beauty itself bleeding from the wounded figure.  I drew inspiration for this from Mantegna, Uccello, and traditional artists from India, Japan, Russia and ancient Greece.

There were some artistic gymnastics involved in the representation of Mantegna’s Dead Christ (see image to the left of the wounded figure's foot.  I felt mischievous taking an image touted by art historians to be an early and unusual example of foreshortening, and foreshortening the foreshortening by depicting it as if viewed from an angle.

All images and texts © Frank Mulvey 2016, except where otherwise credited.

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