Duality

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the works for my upcoming ‘Duality’ exhibition, opening August 31st, with C.A.V.E Gallery

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For those interested, follow the link below to read more on some of the concepts involved within this series – 

We are all subject to constant, and ever changing psychological forces, and are generally at the mercy of our subconscious more than we realize – in the last few years neuroscience has shown us that many decisions are made in the brain before we are actually aware of making the decision. This means that, in many instances, by the time we’re conscious of having made a choice, the choice may already have been made for us.

It’s suggested that the subconscious is generally responsible for emotional actions & reactions. We have little control over this, and are generally unaware of these forces even though we experience, and are in a sense, enveloped by them. This is the underlying basis for the compositions of the double image paintings, the characters acting out the scenes within the larger composition (of a face or a skull) are unaware of the bigger picture, yet moulded and influenced by it, and visa versa, both a separate, yet integral part of the others existence. Emotion and reason, instinct and awareness, mind and matter, the constantly present co-existence of opposites, these are a small few of the many facets to dualism theory.

Everyone will be familiar with the idea of seeing faces in the clouds, the man on the moon, or maybe the Rorscharch test and Max Ernst’s frottage technique – all applications of the psychological phenomenon ‘Apophenia’ – the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random meaningless data – sometimes described as ‘unmotivated seeing of connections accompanied by a specific experience of abnormal meaningfulness’.

In turn, as well as giving visual significance to objects, we also often make conceptual/abstract connections (often without being consciously aware of doing so), adding meaning – be it sentimental or symbolic – to something otherwise inanimate. Andre Breton wrote about the ‘fundamental crisis of the object’ – the object being thought of not as a fixed external object, but also as an extension of our subjective self. This has also been described as irrational knowledge – delirium of interpretation.

The action of bringing these phenomena into a visual reality, specifically through use of the double image technique, was described by the surrealists as the ‘Paranoiac Critical Method’, (although many examples of this existed previously) partially derived from the term ‘paranoia’, the definition of which bears a remarkable similarity to the aforementioned Apophenia. The subject of paranoia has, on many occasions, been explored in this positive sense  – Philip K Dick commented “Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.” and William S. Burroughs claimed “Paranoia is just having the right information.”

Whereas my previous double image paintings, featuring skulls, focussed on the life and death concepts to explore relationships between the conscious and subconscious, these new additions, (forming part of the ‘Duality’ series), depict human faces in place of the skulls, exhibiting a  more expressive approach. This series focusses on the positive and creative aspects of the subconscious mind, with references of philosophical dualism theory. Displaying stronger, livelier elements of abstraction, whilst retaining the recognizable figurative approach with suggested narratives.

 

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