Bitter moon

  • Bitter moon_Galina Hristova.jpg
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Bitter moon is part of a series based on females' dreams. Several women were interviewed, sharing a dream that left an unusual impact on their memories. Dream symbolism in Carl Jung's psychoanalytical theories is crucial for analysing the individual's subconscious layers and anxieties of the personality. Archetypes, mythological analogies, and fantasies manifest themselves in dreams and discover sides of the personality that are usually repressed.  Laconically, but with emotional expressiveness, I am trying to interpret a visual metaphor of the feelings that dreams are accompanied with. Comparing dream translation similarities from different sources and universally accepted signs, I am interested in deciphering dream symbolism according to tales from myths. The notion of presence and absence is central. Contrasting solid and transparent paint, lines and thick layers, real and surreal elements,  I tend to portray the controversial psychic experience that mixies illusion and reality.

Responses (2)

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John Crowther
John Crowther Critic

July 01, 2022

For those not as insomnia-inclined as myself, one-third of our lives are spent asleep. However, the idea that we rest for these eight hours is misleading. Our minds never shut off. Our eyes might take a break, but our brains do not. Sometimes we have no memories of our dreams, other times, we catch fleeting glimpses of them before they follow the dark into the oblivion of day, and still others we remember vividly as long as our memory last. Forgotten or remembered, our dreams never stop. There are no dreamless nights except for those that never end.

Dreams confuse and clarify reality. They can be bizarre, beautiful, terrifying, funny, and deeply sad. In short, they are everything we experience in life without the immediate material guidance of the senses. Sometimes they are our best friends, an escape from the misery of the material world. Other times, they enhance that misery to nearly unbearable proportions, and still others, they intrude into happy days like a knife. They can alleviate and create despair, but they never act alone. No one has a nightmare who has not experienced sadness. No one has a pleasant dream who has never experienced happiness. They are the closest thing to mirrors for the soul. In our waking hours, we can see all the emotions our faces can impart reflected in mirrors. Our ocular gaze is most inwardly directed when we stare into the often-unpleasant looking glasses that seem to confront us at every turn. But no matter how jarring these reflections are, they are nothing compared to the introspection of dreams.

Out of necessity, we learn to control our expressions. We might be able to fool others about what lies behind our smile or frown, but we can take comfort in knowing the truth behind the façade. It is often sad to know that what we see in the mirror is not what we feel, but at least we know. There is power in knowing; there is control. Dreams, however, do not afford us this clarity. They are muddled and wild, transient, scaring, and all too often, completely opaque. Traumas we smashed down into our unconscious bubble forth to the surface once the safeguards of our consciousness relax. Fears we repressed come back with a vengeance in the labyrinth of sleep. Joys that we stifle because they do not fit into the narratives of our lives explode with tremendous velocity in our "rest ." Dreams are not a break from the world but an assault on everything in the world we vainly try to control. They are not the chickens resting but the chickens coming home to roost. How unfair is an existence that allows for ignorance only until we are too weak to exercise it? This is the tragedy and ecstasy of life, the pleasure and perils of imagination and introspection. We run the gauntlet of life only to run the even more labyrinthine gauntlet of dreams. Try as we might, we cannot escape ourselves or the world that made us.

As with life, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of dreams is their overlap. Galina Hristova’s Bitter moon is based on dream studies of several women and encapsulates various commonalities between their nocturnal explorations. Despite being the most inner of our inner recesses, dreams are far from unique. Common themes, archetypes, and sensations appear repeatedly in everyone's nighttime wanderings. Certain material conditions will create more substantial similarities between some people than others. For example, I imagine the threatening presence of the three dogs in Bitter moon is partially a manifestation of the tragically constant threat of predatory men. While the beasts might vary, their vile existence is far too universal. However, this is only a surface-level reading of the work. Hristova communicates the web of sleep and all its contradictions on Bitter moon’s oil-stained canvas.

The subject exists in a space that is both exterior and interior. She gazes out from eyes cloaked in a barbed-wire crown of thorns. She lays half in a room and half on a surreally building-lined shore. She casts a shadow of color while surrounded by neutral tonality. She lives and breathes the endless contradictions of anything but restful repose.

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Galina Hristova
Galina Hristova Creator

July 02, 2022

Such a thorough and relevant analysis of the theme and the concept conceived in the painting Bitter moon, Mr. Crowther! Thank you for the comment and shared thoughts! It was pleasure to rear it!

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Nancy Wyllie
Nancy Wyllie Artist

July 02, 2022

A stunningly complex and thought provoking painting that slurs fact and fiction. Three mad dogs and, for me, a reference to a crown of thorns provides yet another layer of menace and mystery

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Galina Hristova
Galina Hristova Creator

July 02, 2022

Thank you veey much for the comment, dear Nancy! It gives me another motif to revew and go deeper in the translations of my ideas and my subject matter!

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Ellen Nemetz
Ellen Nemetz Artist

June 10, 2022

Your use of color and form in this piece is beautiful! I really like the contrast of the strictly representational with the more loose and abstract elements.

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Galina Hristova
Galina Hristova Creator

June 11, 2022

Thank you very much, Ellen!

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Galina Hristova
Surrealism, Figurative
Painting - Unframed
Oil, Canvas
39.00 inches wide
39.00 inches tall
1.20 inches deep
6.50 lbs
London, ENG, GB