Exploring the “Inner World,” Origin of the Myth, and Social Conditioning
“Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, myths of man have flourished. Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.” Joseph Campbell
Psyche and Symbol
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As man evolved, humanity reacted positively to smoothness, regularity, and symmetry. It was taken very seriously in every culture, from music, mathematics and science, developing and adopting the grid system through repletion of the whole.
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“What are the disagreements of properties between flatness with the irregularities of a rough space? Man eventually embraced the smooth and flat in the world, creating the engineering marvels.” Benoit Mandelbrot
Carbon dating of primitive cave paintings from various regions around the world, such as Brazil, Mexico, North America, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Czech Republic, India, China, Africa, Borneo, Malaysia, Australia, Burma, and New Guinea, provide evidence that around 20,000 years ago, homo sapiens all over the globe were “simultaneously” creating both representational depictions of the natural world they encountered daily and borrowing from a shared variety of up to 26 abstract symbols to mark their surroundings.
A graffito (plural "graffiti"), in an archaeological context is a deliberate mark made by scratching or engraving on a large surface such as a wall. The marks may form an image usually of animals or writing. The term may or may not include the more common modern sense of an "unauthorized" addition to a building or monument.
With the onset of night, and my backpack stocked with everything from canvas to headlamps, I begin my painting process. The journey to the outside world marks my exit from “fragility of the studio,” into “Neverland,” among the lost boys who reside in pockets of the city, moving and surviving within its mini “Skid Row” communities.
My main intention is to locate embedded symbols, such as the “eight pointed star,” the “bodily cross layout,” or the “sun wheel.” These markings existed during the Neolithic era and were once experienced on “sacred ground,” in the form of rock engravings of various depths (sunk relief, bas-relief, relief façades) are readily experienced today and are carved in and across the city’s anatomy. When creating open-air paintings the environment decides the outcome; the wind plays a significant role determining its aesthetic attributes; the shifting of the canvas causes misalignment, breaking, and sometimes double, imagery. It’s an aspect that appeals to me doubly as a kind of ghost print and reminder that no matter how marvelous or smooth man’s latest creations may be, they can always be diminished or altered by Mother Nature. It was also important that my process reference the traditional archaeological method of documenting weather and time worn surfaces, which resulted in my efforts to record visual data with acrylic paint, similar to “ink rubbings,” or reproductions made of a surface plain.
After examining the urban environment, the natural succeeding step in this body of work, would be to leave the confinement of the city walls, move away from the concrete jungle’s smooth surfaces and hard angles, to reexamine the abstract forms in their authentic wild state.
Theory of Color and Image
In the beginning stages of this work, I experimented with colorful palettes which resulted in isolating the abstract forms from one to another and making them look mechanically placed/arranged. I decided to move away from color field and favor a monochromic pallete, which produced a sense of wholeness in a comoflaged state, and referenced the unconsious embededments.
Later, I found that pushing a color through the painting created a more harmonious dialogue among the different shapes and forms.
“At his best man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” Aristotle
Auto glass comprises the main aesthetic component and material for this body of work. I felt it was necessary to include the glass medium since it adds to the conversation of shattered authoritative power; and even more importanly, its innate mesmerizing behavior, or the “takeover” one experiences when looking into a reflective surface. The capacity to comprehend the “mirroring effect,” isn’t possessed by every member of the animal kingdom; only those genetically derived from a "higher primate" class have this privilege. In turn, mirroring comprehension plays a big role in our brain evolution; decoding the visual field and marking the beginning of self-analysis; as our ancestors caught a glimpse of themselves while drinking from a puddle. their ability to see themselves, naturally shifted the gaze from perception of the outside world to a temporal fixation with the one within.
Mirror Myths & Customs References
I consciously moved my practice outside the context of the studio, after reading works like “Man & Symbols” and “The Hidden Dimension.” These texts synthesized my interest in studying exterior space and the abstract interactions encountered in a public sphere. The shattered remnants of glass found across the city served as an attractive antithesis to search of found order of the city’s streets. The biggest challenge I faced during this study was Mother Nature; the scale of these works ranged from 12 to 15 feet long, and although I weighed them down, clamped, and used magnets to secure the canvas, they still flapped like sails when faced with the gust of the Bay Area wind.
“A survey of great myths in which the wisdom of the human race is enshrined suggests the possibility that man achieves civilization, not as a result of superior biological endowment or geographical environment, but as a response to a challenge in a situation of special difficulty which rouses him to make a hitherto unprecedented effort.”
Arnold J. Toynbee
The almighty sun serves as the worshiped disk, the most powerful life-giving source we know. This series seeks to reflect its innate force, the hypnotic control it holds over us and our planet. Building on the concept of open air art production, I wanted to play with the sun’s own appropriation of forms and capture the force that awakens the fauna order and directs the flora system; as well as serving as a constant “tango with time,” for all of us. When the sun rests for the day, we are expected to do the same, but as most of us sleep there are always awakening the creatures of the night but perpetually making its mark.
How does the universes inner workings, it's joint forces, between the sun waves, gravity, and dark matter, produce a distinct abstraction, a repetition in forms, what does this look like?
Process and Method
Theory of Color and Image
Shadow, a two dimensional silhouette, product from an interaction between three dimensional forms and a luminous source. Each painting defines the sites properties. Byproducts from man and nature are captured through radiation burns, a process requiring a cyclical interplay with the divine sun, taking weeks or months of burning layers to homogenize amorphousness formations with concrete forms.