paradox

Introduction

The thematic concern of these art works is paradox and our belief structures, specifically looking at the duality of our lives. On the one hand we believe that we can indulge in self-exploration in order to “discover” who we are, and on the other hand, we contend that we construct our own reality and become who we decide we are.

Exploring the dynamics of these two seemingly contradictory notions brings to light many paradoxes which appear in everyday life. It is as though truth comes in oppositional pairs and one has to accept this to exist in the reality of our fragmented modern culture. Reality and fiction have become intermingled to the point where many of us do not know the difference.

I have had a sense of the sublime [1] while working through this. As Lyotard said: “…the feeling when faced with a work of art ... is a contradictory feeling because it is a feeling of pleasure and displeasure, together.” (1989:10).

The inspiration for this project was the layered images and metaphors that reflect a post-modern sensibility contained in Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”. Although written in the 80’s, the issues raised are as pertinent now as they were then, especially in view of recent political/historical events such as the bombing of the twin towers and the attack on Afghanistan.

Many of the utterances of the characters in this novel are paradoxical, and I selected six quotes around which to develop the imagery for my six paintings.

Rushdie provoked anger from certain sectors of Muslim society when he transgressed the boundaries between their believed histories and fiction. In these art works I have explored the distinction—or lack thereof—between the reality we see at first glance and that which we see on closer inspection; as well as the realities and fantasies we create both intentionally and without being aware that we are doing so.

My conceptual focus lies in a series of works where past and present ways of looking at the same problems are juxtaposed [2]

I have mixed the materials of everyday objects with globalist paraphernalia in the picture frames, in order to explore a space in our world:  “A space in which there is a play of all these associations, and more… everything we already know and which the image may therefore evoke, whether by intention or not. These intertextual fields are themselves, of course, in constant process of change…” (Burgin, 1986:50). The framing is a metaphor for our so modern selves existing within our belief structures and is inspired by the iconography of earlier religious art. In conjunction with the frames, I have explored the context of past reflections in oil paint as a means of accessing old Romantic notions. In some cases, I have used collage as a time-layering consideration. Not all works have collaged visuals.

The presentation consists of a series of six multiple wall units, dealing with various paradoxical issues.

 


[1] The term sublime may be defined as that which draws and repels one at the same time. It may be as lofty a sensation as flying, when there is the possibility of falling; or perhaps even a scary movie when one knows that one will be terrified, but nevertheless one just has to see it.
[2] For instance, the sensation of foreboding panic in Goya’s Romantic painting “Colossus” where the Spanish civil war was imminent and the people had a feeling of panic and foreboding, and our present day ominous feelings during the aftermath of the bombing of the World Trade Centre, and the immediate anticipation of more bombing. So the Colossus giant of Goya becomes the “made up” creature of the manticore that I have updated to cyborg in Figure 1.

paradox

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