Paul Meillon is a Montreal-based artist who uses radiant and hallucinatory acrylic paintings to explore connectedness, elevation and awe. Visit his website to see more of his work.
Marcel Duchamp once said that the objective of art is to make the viewer drop dead. I, on the other hand, being for life and the uplifting power of art, strongly disagree with him. I think the best art should make the viewer “drop fainted” in that particular illness called Stendhal Syndrome, where the overwhelming significance of the art makes the unfortunate person pass out.
As an explorer of self-transcendence, I try to imagine art at the end of time, ignoring the historical moment, in order to provide imagery that opens and broadens the mind.
To do this, I imagine I am granted the “cosmic eye” by Krishna, that can peer into the planetary connectedness of humanity. In the Mahabarata, Arujna has to lead his troops into battle, and losing his nerve to fight asks Krishna for the “cosmic eye” to be able to see his duty, and the inner workings of the universe. His wish is granted, and he has what we could call a psychotic break: he sees gods, celestial bodies, and the infinity of time and space, and is completely overwhelmed.
He has goose bumps, and is disoriented and cannot describe or even understand the wonders he is beholding. “Things never seen before I have seen, and ecstatic in my joy, yet fear and trembling perturb my mind.” He prostrates himself before Krishna and asks for forbearance, and hears his lord’s command: “Do works for Me, make Me your highest goal, by loyal-in-love to Me, cut off all other attachments.”
To incarnate this sense of awe, I use a colorful visual language, where shapes flow and merge into each other. I try to capture the light of the mystery of being, where the liquid and globular visions metaphorically represent human interconnectedness, which leads to an opening of broadening of the mind.
I use bright, salient colors, similar to those found in the Canadian landscape, or a buffet of fruits, probably because unconsciously I want to eat my art. The base images can seen as ordinary or routine, a face or a couple, and are transformed into a profound revelation, where causal connections of seemingly remote causes can suddenly be precipitated.
If I can trigger feelings of admiration and elevation, to expand just for a nanosecond someone’s scope and attention in the moment, then maybe I can help restore a more benevolent vision of the world.
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