Alex Grey and the Exploration of the Metaphysical (Endarkenment)


Alex Grey displays his impressive technical skills with a deep introspection for life. All of his paintings have a very personal connection. He was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1953 to a gentle, middle classed family. With a background in graphic design and an ever-present interest in life, death, and transcendence. I chose this painting, Endarkenment , because it represents a very frequent and common theme in our lives. I interpret this painting as how it feels to be constantly burdened by life. The man is in the midst of turmoil, not even attempting to escape it. I can connect with it from working my job all the time. In the painting there is dark imagery surrounding him as well as going through him, controlling him. There is an acknowledgement of positivity on the fringes of it all, however the other figures are following in the same direction as the main one, which means that it is normal to be burdened and to feel trapped. His artwork inspires me to not only improve my abilities as an artist, but also as an intellectual. All of the themes in his artwork are concepts I’ve thought about a lot. Theosophy, existentialism. There is so much that life has to offer and teach us, and so much buried information and beauty that we as extensions of this wonderful universe have an obligation to express.

Are there any themes you can personally relate to or express interest in?

Do you think his surreal technical skills helps express his ideas?

What do you look for in art, aesthetic beauty with little meaning (landscapes, etc.) or introspection?

Liam Walleck


13 thoughts on “Alex Grey and the Exploration of the Metaphysical (Endarkenment)

  1. I think this is very interesting painting. When I looked at it, it showed how surroundings around the person can change or have an affect on person mind and emotions. I think His technical painting does help express emotions and ideas in many ways.It does look scary for a bit, but when you look in to it it displays a lot of meanings.

  2. I think Alex Gray’s paintings are very interesting. The lighting he uses to outline the figures is what initially catches my eye. It’s almost as if the image is coming out of the picture. I feel as if you stare at one of his paintings long enough you can become hypnotized by it. Personally, it’s not something I would hang up on my wall. The images appear to “busy” for my taste and I find this particular piece frightening, but to each there own.

  3. To me personally this resembles a person going under extreme pressure in their life. This could be pressure they put on themselves to achieve something or expectations from family and friends. With all the chains representing the obstacles that a person faces everyday. So far this is the most interesting piece of art I have seen. it is beautifully detailed. For me when I look at art I just look at its beauty, I don’t try to relate it to anything personal but sometimes there is pieces like this one that are beautiful and also make you think.

  4. very impressive piece of art. At first I couldnt make of what the painting was. There is just so much going on at the first glance…is it allen? Is it from earth? Why is he being tortured? I wonder what was going through alex greys mind when he was making this piece. It’s definitely tripy and very different from most paintings.

  5. I can sort of relate to this painting. As a married father of younger boys, going to school full-time, working 45-50+ hours a week, and spending most my weekends and nights doing homework, work, pretending to know how to fix broken appliances and house problems, and playing with the kids and hanging out with the wife, it almost feels like you are drained and shackled to your current situation and being pulled in all different directions without having the chance for any me time. Both mentally, and physically drained and wiped out without any chance for a break. However, what keeps me focused is there is an end in sight. There is a graduation in sight. There is hopefully less hard work coming soon!

  6. Themes that I can relate to this painting appear to be confinement since the “humans” in this work appear to be held back by steel manacles. I do think his surreal technical skills help express his ideas. In art I look for a combination of technical artistic skill as well as expression of emotion.

  7. This is sincerely what I am feeling this whole day today, and of course it is definitely a build up or many many weeks . I can’t wait to hear an explanation of this. The human -without a race or gender, just internal soul and feelings- is not happy and is not experiencing anything good. This human is chained , chained by whatever, and the atmosphere, the things happening around him are not good, or happy , either. So that is reflecting on his soul, and I am feeling what it is feeling. That’s how powerful this painting is. I’m happy to see it on a day like this, because I feel that I;m not alone.

  8. This is interesting. To me, it represents everyday life. How humans live in this trapped culture, where suffering becomes normal. Everyone wants to be happy but everything around is them gloomy and demeaning. I really liked the how the light in the corner was protrayed. It seems like a sun but it appears more than that. Like its telling you that not everything is gloomy and miserable, There is a better place to be, you just have to escape your chains. What I personally look for in art has to be meaning. I always try to find out why things are the way they are. I want to see meaning in works of art as to why they exist.

  9. I can definitely relate to this painting. I think it represents the struggles we all have. Each person is getting pulled away from the only aspect representing anything good in the painting. All to different degrees . Some by chains. Some being pushed by the monster. One is in the monsters mouth being consumed and lastly there is the one that has been finished represented by the skull on the ground. As life goes on there are more experiences and challenges that can trap you and it depends on how you handle it weather you are in control or controlled.

  10. I find this painting pretty cool just because you can see the human figure from its bones, veins and organs their so detailed in the painting. The painting almost looks something to a Cat scan. This painting of Grey gives me also a feeling about my everyday life. The feeling of a stressful day and being exhausted, but yet I have to keep moving with my daily routine. I did some search on other Greys painting and their similar to this one, but some of his other painting gives it a more spiritual feeling. I give his art a thumbs up for creativity, energy and spirituality he puts in his artwork its very eye grabbing.

  11. I think this is a very interesting painting which his surreal effects help convey a lot of meaning like stress and anguish. I also think the skeletal structure and circulatory structure being shown from the person is an interstitial touch and wonder the meaning behind representing those things

  12. For some reason, the creature(which I think represents a negative force or energy) controlling the people, reminds me of H.R. Giger’s aliens. I like how Alex Grey, focused on what’s inside of us, and how it means that we are all the same. And I definitely think he’s an interesting person after watching he’s interview.

  13. I am one that defiantly looks for emotion and asceticism in a painting and I think this painting embodies both of those things. The very first glance of this paint leaves the viewer thinking. I think this is because of its appeal to chaos, and since everyone has a little of it in their lives, I think this painting speaks to everyone in some way. I also find this painting very interesting because I feel that I can look at it for a long time and still keep finding things I didn’t catch before.

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