In this painting, you find bright and vibrant colors, but the within the tails of the feathers you see the "eyes" of the peacock feather. In greco-roman mythology, the peacock was made from Argus, who had a hundred eyes. This piece is a statement on how the male form is one that naturally seeks to express colors and emotions, but gets interrupted by watchful eyes. Men are constantly "watched" and pressured by society to remain stoic and hold in their feelings. From childhood, if a boy cries, he is told to "be a man" and stop, whereas their sisters are not conditioned to hide their feelings this way. This societal conditioning confines men and keeps them from fully expressing themselves.
The red at the bottom of the painting is symbolic of anger/violence that starts to pool up when emotions have to be bottled up. The red starts at the bottom and is starting to block off the colors of the peacock slowly. It looks as though it could engulf the entire peacock if it pools up more, but the colors seem to be keeping it at bay. The gold line separating them symbolizes the balance between societal expectations, and the psychological response to them. As seen in the painting, the line is not straight- it is turbulent and swirls chaotically in the chest of the peacock.
Kar, Jeena A.
"The Expressive Male Bird,"
be Still: Vol. 2
, Article 32.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/bestill/vol2/iss1/32