The 2016 Theme….
In homage to All Hallow’s Eve, this year’s theme for the annual Van Gogh Gala will be Victorian Mysticism/Gothic. This genre has inspired numerous tales of storytelling that generates immediate, distinctive imagery and an almost visceral tone. Dark misty moors, old abandoned houses, women in black corsets and long dresses, men donning dark, dapper coats and debonair hats… And above all, a sense of extraordinary terror found in everyday things. As Edgar Allen Poe wrote in The Raven, “the silken, sad, uncertain rusting of each purple curtain thrilled me, filled me, with fantastic terrors I’d never seen before…”
But more than just a genre with established conventions, the Victorian Gothic Horror dictates a particular time and historical period. Certainly we associate a host of classic novels to the Victorian era setting but the popular dominance of ‘Gothic Fiction’ in literature had largely passed by the time of the Victorian age. Yet the hangover of the Gothic form seems indelibly marked on this period of time around the industrial revolution. The weight of literary greats such as Charles Dickens are obviously a big factor, as are the seminal stories such as The Strange case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and Elisabeth Gaskell’s, The Grey Woman.
But it’s not just classic writers of the period that wrote Victorian Gothic, modern writers do as well, such as Susan Hill (The Woman in Black) and John Harwood (The Asylum); borrowing not just the tone and conventions of the Gothic, but very literally the setting and period.
There is a magnetic and underlying chemistry with this genre. We are eager to see what our guests in attendance will don for this always popular, ever evolving Van Gogh Gala 2016.
See you 10.29.16!