I have always been fascinated by paintings that referenced a scream. They encapsulate and evoke so much terror, and it's really just an image, just a human expression, just a mouth. What happens along with that normal event is another story; "story" being the leading word here. I love the terrifying narrative of the visual depiction of a scream. And it's not like you are getting the bone chillingness and earsplitting horror that accompanies the noise from a scream. No, in a visual image, we only get the silent action of a scream in progress.
(see example here by Francis Bacon. I saw this painting 'in the flesh', and it was a terrifying visage, indeed).
I think that the narrative behind that idea is way more powerful and full. If one takes away the noise from a scream, it becomes that much more oppressive in nature, that much more helpless and horrible. No one can hear them scream, so what does the screamer do now? I think that what a silent scream says has an even bigger, louder, more wounded voice than one with sound. Interesting concept, no? But if you think about it, it rings true.
It always makes me question what it is, that makes the person so terrified....and then, does it matter, specifically? It doesn't, because I can actually see the terror visually. It's a remarkable thing, coming from a mere human emotion a face, a mouth. Why does the mouth seem to be one of the most powerful indicators of emotion on the face, aside from the eyes....? I think it's the fact that the mouth, in essence, is a very large hole. And holes in bodies, to put it mildly, are generally more vulnerable areas. They are the entrances into someone... the all too human and flawed body, and the soul.
To me, a scream is a scary thing to see on someone's face, with or without the aid of any sound. But I know that silence has its own, unique kind of terror, as well.
Throughout the years, I have done several 'silent scream' paintings/prints already...
Invisible Unless I Shout
...and I've been thinking for a few months on how and why I would do more. I'm almost there.
(all images copyright protected, Shana R. Goetsch)