Leonora Carrington Evening Conference, 1949
A gathering of creatures in the middle of the evening. Leonora Carrington is an artist who longed to fit in but who always felt different, an animal lover and a surrealist. She depicts on this painting a get together which seems of the highest importance. What could be so pressing for a bunch of animals to meet in the middle of the night?
There’s no indication on the exact time- the title says ‘evening’ but doesn’t specify. The urgent character and the gravity is given by the grey color scheme. The background, the moon on the upper left corner and the window opening to the dark blue sky are painted in dusty ashes tones.
The meeting is presided by the creature in the middle of the frame. He seems to be the leader. His eyes are no joke, they’re a completely different color than his body. Perfectly rounded pearly wicked little eyes are staring at us, as if we were not welcomed to attend this meeting.
Spread around him, the audience, four creatures symmetrically arranged around the table. The one closer to the dark evil howl, which has multiple heads, seems to be his right hand. It’s looking away. Probably disagreeing with the motion discussed.
The two other statuesque creatures are tall and strong. Standing opposite to one another from the table, they seem to be the poles holding the scene together. The little chicken like animal standing next to the tall kite head creature on the right hand side is looking at the floor. Snoozing as it is late and past its bed time…
On the table, orange items. To me, they might just be snacks and drinks infused with magical liquid that help the creatures get through the night. The contrast of colors revive the tone of the scene. The ambiance is odd and spooky as opposed to sinister and gloomy. There’s something jolly about the center of the painting. A reminder that even amongst serious matters imaginative and artistic elements temper the moment.
What could the meeting be about?I personally imagine the reunion being about the dark howl getting mad at its creature friends for not standing up for themselves.
The dark howl, in its dark anthracite costume is explaining in a frenzied manner that his peers don’t have to be dressed up in white or light grey. They need to embrace their true inner colors. So their appearance in reality might not be what we are seeing. White might not be their true self. They chose white as the closest color to invisibility.
Leonora Carrington has experienced this feeling of being different. She often felt that she was not fitting in. In her mind, this is probably a representation of what was happening in her mind. Or how she envisioned her conscious to bring her back to reason when she was in doubt.