Tuesday, April 27, 2010


On her website (linked above), Toronto-based Narrative Therapist Bonnie Miller writes,

"I love Calvin and Hobbes, and was sad when Bill Waterson, its creator, closed shop. He did it to pursue his other identity as a 'real' artist. I guess that, like many of us, Bill felt that he had only the time or energy to express one identity at a time.
...the assumption seems to be that the self is fixed, singular, and internal.

...There is another set of ideas about identity, floating around out there, that suggest these assumptions:

* that we each have many identities
* that these identities are 'performed' or played out, under different circumstances
* and that these identities are shaped and received by our social surroundings- the setting, the people in the setting, the expectations of those people, and how we react to those expectations."

In painting, diverse paint applications and collage-like composition become essential to envision space in visually convincing ways. Taking cues from traditional Chinese landscape, collage compositions jettison binary structures such as horizon lines or figure and ground. The dis- or re-integration of form, color and space that results imparts the psychological and visual effects of globalization and digitization.

Collage-like space emerges in 1960s Pop Art, reflecting then-current innovative technologies in science, space travel and foreign relations. Artists James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg, in particular, fractured space by merging diverse elements--Rosenquist, through the vehicle of sign painting, Rauschenberg, through chance. Both men studied Asian philosophy and inserted its teachings within the cacophony of images they experienced as culture.

Does geographic location dictates aesthetics, like perceptions defines the self? Immersion into a new space overwhelms and inundates--but does it eradicate aesthetic origins? The doubled state of being that results between an old and new self-in-situ can be bridged by diverse elements in painting. The end-game first postulated in postmodern recycling finds new possibilities in the unknown reconfiguring of the familiar.

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