A solitary man, Muligan has included no biography, preferring his work to speak for him. This psychological, sexually-charged piece answers as many questions as it raises. Prepare to become lost...
Nine-thirty in the morning and Waterfall Gallery stands quiet and empty, as I had hoped. Staring into the vast room brings a smile to my lips. Something about Art Galleries always reveals my inner smile, no matter how depressed or sad I may be.
Today started as one of those horrible, bleak days. All I could think about was my own sadness and pain. I knew today’s visit would gladden my soul.
The long wait for a new exhibition by my favourite artist, the celebrated Paul Devon is over. Passionate about art being available to the masses, he makes sure his exhibitions aren’t confined to London's big galleries. He demands his work tours the country and no-where is more important than his home town of Charing Gate.
I needed to see his new collection, 'Emotions on Show' as soon as the exhibition opened and alone with no companion but solitude. An unseen force, urges, demands I go when no-one else would be around.
The patience of waiting all these weeks was indeed a great challenge, but I knew deep-down it would be well worth the wait.
Devon's new collection had received fantastic reviews from the critics, even the harsh and brash Rufus Pool, who described the work as a delight of beauty and emotion. He even described Devon as being a wondrous talent. These were words did not come easily for the notoriously harsh Rufus Pool.
The first painting I stopped at showed a man staring at a television. Entitled 'Hope', the subject's eyes seemed to be grieving a loss of some kind. A deep, raw sense of sadness filled the picture, demanding you to wonder if he was looking at the news. Or was the man waiting to receive news about some disaster? A lost relative? In awe, I walk to the next painting, still thinking about 'Hope'.
The next piece, 'Desire', grabs my attention instantly. Never have I seen such beauty or been so stunned. All the other paintings don’t matter, this is what called to me, what I must see, for this is heaven on earth to the naked eye and deep-rooted harmony for the soul. The innocent purity and sheer elegance of the piece screams “Adore me.”
The painting depicts a woman with long, wavy strawberry-blonde hair draped over her left breast, her right is fully exposed. She looks down in a teasing, seductive pose as if she dares not look into the eyes of those looking at her. Her pale white skin shines on the canvas and captures me in her snare.
I am hers.
My heart yearns for her with impossible longing. Her curves demand my attention and seem to beg to be touched. She calls to me.
I glance around to make sure I am still alone. No-one has joined me so I hold out my hand and touch the canvas. The delicate soft touch of cool, sensual skin meets my hand, not the feel of layered oil paint. I snatch my hand back. How is this possible?
“Don’t stop, please,” she says softly and seductively.
Slowly, I again hold out my hand and touch the soft skin of her arm.
“Ohhhh… thank you.”
Ripples of sheer ecstasy excite me. She is real I tell myself and touch her again. I want to hold her tightly in my arms, for I feel an impulsive yearn in my heart. Another quick look around; I'm still on my own.
“Take me, I’m yours,” she’s says in my mind.
I am lost. I must have her. I need her, she needs me. I make up my mind, she will live with me forever.
I feel my heart beating faster, my breath becoming shallower, my mouth drying.
There is no turning back from this moment, for it is now or never. With extreme caution I carefully remove the painting from the wall and take quick, double-steps through the emergency back exit. No-one will care, no-one will mind I tell myself. I can hear 'Desire' calling me.
“Quick,” she says softly.
I race to my car, the alarm of the gallery ringing loudly. I must be quick for I cannot be caught. I have to get away.
I travel through the narrow streets of Charing Gate at terrific speed, avoiding the distant a police car in my rear view mirror, I know these streets and lose them by turning left and right, narrowly missing pedestrians crossing the road. I drive at dangerous speeds until I find myself out of the town, and into the relative safety of a lay-by.
I contemplate what I have done and turn on the radio. Haunting pianos and violins bring tears to my eyes. Rachmaninov's 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini' shakes my soul as I question what on earth I have done. Has my depression become so desperate that I have stolen a painting? Has my life sunk as low as this? I sit and question my life, everything I have done.
“Love me, my darling. Don’t worry, my love,” Desire says to me.
She consoles my grief as she says she wants me; needs to hold me and have my love forever. With tears in my eyes I reach out to touch her soft, delicate skin. Slowly I begin to become one with the picture and I am beside her, holding her, touching her, at ease with her.
I look at her and she smiles. I see her eyes now and they shine. She playfully waves away her strawberry blonde hair, and smiles as a warmness like I have never felt before fills me. She holds out her hand and invites me, entices me, to join her. I remove my clothes, and join her like Adam and Eve in the beginning. She smiles, a delicate smile, before turning away shyly. The music of Rachmaninov fades then comes to a complete stop.
I look around and I see the front seat of my car. I am part of the painting now; liberated without a moment of regret for Desire sits with me, wants me, craves me. She lowers her leg revealing more of her nakedness. I hold out my arms and we embrace passionately as we kiss.
She looks at me with dilated pupils, our eyes locked together in love. I can feel my heart rising faster and faster. She is the woman I have waited for my whole life. Desire strokes the back of my ear. I am lost to the sensual feeling of her touch, as she fills me with a rapture I have never felt before. I tell her my heart is hers forever. For a moment I look at myself, feeling a retched loathing and unworthiness. She moves to vanquish my feeling, placing two fingers on my lips, she tells me to believe in myself. Her words are ambrosia for my soul. We come together as one.
Now I am complete with desire, embracing her, lost to her, for I am now part of the picture and have never felt more alive.
Copyright 2019 Ryan G. Muligan