Dorian Gray

Mixed media: acrylic, egg tempera, oil glazes, silver leaf and resin on canvas. 60cm x 60cm

'A   Picture   of   Dorian   Gray'   is   re-interpreted   by   Barrett   as   a self-portrait, alluding to his younger years as a fashion model. The artist – the subject of the painting – wants to be perceived  as  attractive,  but   his  beauty   becomes distorted and fragmented when reflected in the mirror.

In Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), Dorian sells his soul to the devil to ensure that his   portrait,   rather   than  he,   will   age  and  fade.  The central  theme of  the  novel is  aestheticism  and  its conceptual relation to living a double life. In Barrett's   painting,  the  reflection  in   the  mirror represents   the   artist's    inner   self;   the   globules   of   discoloured   flesh   depict   deterioration   and morbidity, symbolising inner turmoil beneath the façade of youthful allure. There is a clear discrepancy between   outer   and   inner  beauty.   Beyond   the   personal,   the   painting    also   offers   a   broader commentary  on  the  world  of  fashion and celebrity, with its reverence for eternal youth, and points to the darker side of the industry; behind the airbrushed  images  served up  to  the  public  is  the  ugly  and  distorted  face  of  fashion that values the pursuit of beauty at any cost.

© 2017 Mitchel J. Barrett, all rights reserved.