Artistic Healing: Psychotherapy Through Abstract Expressionism
Gestalt psychotherapist and artist Razi G. Farahani fuses artistic technique with the science of psychology as a vehicle for healing and expression of the self with particular emphasis on abstract expressionism.
One piece that I found particularly poignant was his Scream. Painted with relatively muted tones, the application of the paint in a spiralling circular motion draws the viewers eye from the muddied red center out to the edges of the canvas. It not only has a hypnotic quality with its spiralling motion, but is a visual expression of an emotional and audible action. The act of a scream comes from deep within, with its source stemming from a deep emotional response with no other way to escape or express than through a scream. The red center- the colour symbolizing passion or high emotion- acts as a reference to this deep emotion within the person while the spiralling brushstrokes seem to represent the sound waves emanating from the scream growing bigger and further apart from one another as the waves move further away from its source. Rather than letting out the scream itself, the painting acts as a vehicle for the artist to express this emotion on canvas as a trace of the emotion.
Also, one cannot deny the art historical reference to Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s The Scream, 1893 where the focus of the painting is on the abjected figure of society screaming while a bourgeois man of society walks past without notice or care of the poor man’s woes. Here, however, Farahani’s Scream eliminates the noise of an outside setting or background and focuses solely on the act of screaming- the physical response to a deep emotional reaction- and how this final piece acts as its own healing release.
For more information on Farahani and his work, visit his website here.