Global Expression

Global Expression - 2018

I hadn't done a drawing since April of 2017, one that I still consider a sketch.  I've relocated to Grinnell, Iowa, and while I'm sure that after some time here the change of environment will make it into my art, the message I seem to be connecting with at the moment is more global.

All I knew when I began this piece is that I wanted some sort of "calling" face, not screaming, but the face of someone wanting to be heard.  And I wanted that face inside of, or a part of, a globe.  Could this be the Earth itself calling out?  As I drew, I found that I needed the eyebrows and the lower lip to be exaggerated.  I used my face as the guide, but the result began to remind me more and more of an emotionally driven world leader...

The lower section of the drawing is busier; a leafless vine, a heart-shaped crest or emblem that isn't very ornate complete with a numberless clock, a banner with no words, and a plaque or sign to the lower left, also without words.  The globe/face is within another sphere, one that is topped by two masses that appear to be ice caps or glaciers.  On the whole, the unit seems to have life, moving like a cartoon on vine feet towards the left.  There's much more going on down below than there is up top; the environment is stark and icy up there.  The features of the face are oversized, but there are no ears and not much room for a brain.  The eyes are narrow, squinting almost shut.

There are some very obvious political thoughts as I study this piece, but I've never been one to be a politically minded artist.  My work has and always will be a conversation between my conscious and subconscious with my subconscious side opening up the gate to the collective unconscious.  With the structure of today's social media, it is easier to see what is happening in our collective unconscious, so I don't really need to spell out some of the more obvious memes here.  What interests me more are the subtleties that I'm unsure of...there is a link to Alice and Wonderland here somewhere.  The vines have no leaves and yet I recognize them as vines.  The numberless clock has been a part of my artistic language for awhile now and I have yet to really crack that code.

So what do you see?  What do you connect with?  After all, you are also a part of the collective unconscious, so your thoughts and feelings are in here somewhere, too.

The Riddle of the Planets

The Riddle of the Planets

I began this drawing with only the concept of planets circling a face.  I didn't think there would be hair, but then there it was.  I used a photo of actress Emma Watson as the basis, but found when working on the mouth the face began to resemble Madeline Kahn.  Once I felt it was finished, I set to naming it, and that's when the submining began.

Ok, so it's a face, no, a head, with planets around it.  Are the planets revolving?  If so, in what direction are they revolving?  Is she the center of a solar system?  Are these moons?  Are the planets, the orbs, still?  Are they creeping towards her?  Are they too close?

Words that came to mind while trying to come up with a name included "revolution," "hope," and "angel."  But I didn't want to take for granted that the event depicted here is a positive one.  The orbs do feel a little too close for comfort.  The woman reaches out to us with her eyes, waiting for something, perhaps.  Again, I think, hoping.  But it isn't a hope of optimism.  It's hope for a deliverance.

Planets in my past work have represented a landing place.  Somewhere those little folks who fly through the air on balloons can land and rest.  A place where I can find a sense of grounding.  This doesn't seem possible here.  There are six orbs.  Why?  Will they leave?  What is their motion?  Is there a sea of planets with only these six visible?  Her hair is in motion, right?  Is it?

With so many questions, I thought The Riddle of the Planets was apt, though I take for granted that they are, in fact, planets.  The Riddle of the Orbs?  Nah.  I'll stick with calling these objects planets, not moons, orbs, or atoms.  They are barren.  There are no small folks flying about or landing, no hitching posts for their balloons even if they were present.  Just a stark set of six (a number that feels uncomfortable), too close for comfort, with very little guess as to what the outcome might be.

What do you think?  What does this piece mean to you?


All of It

An exercise in mining the subconscious, but only a small fraction of that process...

First of all, not much conscious thought is put into the title of a piece.  The title comes from the same place as the work itself; the subconscious.  "All of It" just seemed right.  And so it was named.

"All of It" is a graphite drawing done on a thick stock white.  I first drew a number of circles, various sizes, overlapping.  Then I drew an image of a woman's face only in the circles.  The image of a man's face was drawn in the negative space "behind" the circles.  Or "under" the circles.  Finally, shading.  For taste.

That is what my conscious mind did.  I drew circles and a double image, a man's face, a woman's face, facing in opposite directions.  Now is where the mining comes into play...why did I draw this?  What is my subconscious mind telling me?  What is the message?

I always enjoy counting when reviewing a piece.  The circles, which I seem to want to call "bubbles," number 60.  Exactly 60.  I think.  It's difficult to count but on a second counting I do get 60 again.  So then the question becomes, "what does the number 60 mean to you?  What does it make you think of?"  For me personally, I go right to 60 as an age.  I have yet to reach 60.  What about you?  What is "60" to you?

And what do bubbles make you think of?  I think of children blowing bubbles, firstly.  So now I have age again, an age at two different positions on the scale.  A span of a life.  The man and woman seem to fall between, perhaps they are near 30.  And I'm brought back to the title, "All of It."  All of the span of a 60 year life?  That would reflect a limited view of life over 60, wouldn't you say?  Something seems off there, as I know life to continue to change and evolve after 60 through several examples of people I've known over 60, 70, and 80.  Hmm...

The man is quite hidden and the woman stands out.  There are no definitive edges to either image, yet the bubbles themselves have borders, set borders.  My feeling is that the bubbles are rising as opposed to falling.  And they are rising into darkness, rising from the light.  But a cloudy light...a stormy day changing into night and space and beyond.  And the bubbles in the darkness are light, crisper, almost unfinished, though...

It's difficult to continue this process of mining the subconscious without revealing too much that is personal.  But that is the general idea.  What do you see in a work...what does it mean to you...what does it remind you of...what is going on...what is the context of your own's a form of art therapy, really.  I'd highly encourage you to try a similar exercise.  Draw something, anything.  Let your subconscious decide.  Then explore and study your own drawing.  You've begun a conversation with your subconscious.  There is something very valuable in there waiting to be unlocked.