Romance Awareness Month: Complicated Love in Art

As we’re now two weeks into August, otherwise known as Romance Awareness Month, we thought it a good time to revisit the topic in art. Having already looked at tragic love, this week we’re delving into something more complicated.

For some, finding one’s soulmate is like coming across that perfect avocado. It’s hard to find, but once you do, you just know it’s the one.

Similarly, some people get all the luck with love. A meets B, B falls for A, A falls for B and so on and so forth. They are swooped up in a whirlwind romance, followed by 3.3 blissful years, cue a proposal, a wedding, perhaps a googly eyed gold fish, a Jack Russel and maybe even the pitter patter of tiny feet.

However, for others, romance is a completely different experience. So today we explore the idea of complicated love. And whichever way you want to look at it, this kind of affection can be credited for inspiring some of the most powerful and well-known artworks throughout history.

A stunning portrait of a famously passionate artist. Fierce Frida by Tanya Cole.

One of the most recognisable artists to date, Frida Kahlo, experienced this sort of complicated love with her husband Diego Rivera.

Among other things, there was infidelity on both sides, which included Rivera having an affair with Kahlo’s younger sister.

Bluethumb artist Tanya Cole was moved to paint this portrait of Kahlo by this intense desire the couple shared.

“Her love for Diego Rivera was soul spectacular deep despite his infidelity,” Tanya says.

“Their combined passion for each other and their art would have been a force to be reckoned with.”

Kahlo and Rivera married in 1929, divorced ten years later and remarried soon after – unfortunately, their second marriage was just as turbulent.

Kahlo portrays her volatile relationship in many of her works.

Sometimes, it is not the love between two people which makes it complicated. Sometimes, it’s factors outside the relationship.

Andrew Naylan depicts those uncontrollable factors in his beautiful piece titled Respect Relationship Happiness.

The artwork was entered in the Obi Art Prize with the underlying theme being about respect for LGBTQIA communities, refugees, indigenous people and those who suffer domestic violence.

“I tried to address the theme incorporating the various elements of marriage equality and race,” Andrew says.

“Diverse sexuality has been human since time began, so why reject a happy relationship of any sexuality that has not and does not harm others, whether it be be black, white or any rainbow colour from any land?”

Andrew says that he incorporated symbolism into the painting so as to unite many groups, as shown in the earrings, headdress and refracted light. In his words, “marriage is not exclusive, it is inclusive.”

“Although love can be entangled and complex, commitment should be easy to make when a couple wants to.

“I look forward to the day that my PhD environmental scientist sister can marry her partner as I am proud of her.

“I respect all those who stand up for their rights in a positive community.”

Although love can often be hard, it’s often worth the struggle. Complicated Love by H Lin.

Artist H Lin was inspired to create this piece titled Complicated Love on Valentine’s day whilst on a walk with her husband.

“Love is always complicated to me,” H Lin says.

“Love is a combination of needs, wants, desires in all different forms.

“Sometimes it may be a game of power or a weird competition, and sometimes it contains compromise.”

She says she chose these specific flowers as they are made up of many colours, which represent the many different emotions and meanings in life which are manifest in love.

“Young love is strong and passionate, like a hot summer’s day. Red roses blooming and quick stormy showers.

“But somehow, maybe someday you may also find love can be peaceful, but still full of all the good and bad things in life.”

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