Monday, January 27, 2014

phase 2 redux - observe the laws of equivalent exchange

collages, 8.5 x 11 each (frame included)
This past week I set out to make small works that could be read as different points in a sequence, using the relief blocks I carved two weeks ago for the hummingbird animation. At least, that's what I thought I was trying to do (haha/doh!) I cut out all the arched frames and selected  the segments of the map (a road map of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, that's "well-loved" from my trips to Virginia.) I printed the blocks. But... then I started playing with the pieces, and I decided I needed more/different parts. I reprinted the pegasus block from September and another hummingbird that was mini #5, and dug into my archives for the plane and the blue birds from Forest of And, And, And. The series didn't end up being Muybridge-like - to me, it seems more like the view of person standing in a field and turning in a circle.

Even though I'm taking a time out from working on life-sized allegorical figures, they're still on my mind. I decided that I'm not ready to take down Spes/Hope and cleared a different wall for a new piece. I've been thinking of trying again on Amantes sunt Amentes (Those who Love are Insane), or maybe a new version of Amo/Love to accompany Spes/Hope (...followed by a Faith?)

Thinking about the allegories must have reminded me of Plato's allegory of the charioteer (nerd alert! - one of my favorite extended metaphors from Plato's Phaedrus.) Plato's Socrates describes the soul as a charioteer pulled by two winged horses - a shining horse that represents all the intellectual aspects of love and a dark horse that is all the sensory aspects of love (isn't there a Katy Perry song in here somewhere?)

The horses pull in different directions. Socrates describes the different outcomes in reaching enlightenment as depending on the charioteer's skill marshalling the dark horse to follow the lead of the light horse. (This metaphor pre-supposes that the charioteer wants to be reincarnated as a philosopher. If he follows the dark horse more than the light horse, he might end up reincarnated as an artist instead (O the horror! Hahaha)). On a side note, as a child, I liked the mischievous little black pegasus in Fantasia  so much that I had a stuffed toy version. (Focusing!) this relates back to Amo because Plato/Socrates concludes the metaphor by deciding that love is a form of inspired madness. 

The theme for phase 2 redux - observe the law of equivalent exchange has been on my mind too. I've been wondering whether there are stages of art-process that I can refine/exchange. For example - the leaves are printed on a white paper, and then I drew in the map around them and in all the intertices so that the collage elements flip back and forth between becoming part of the map/sitting on top of the map. (Also, I find drawing in the map very fun). But it takes time, and the result is subtle to the point that I question whether it's detectible to most people at a normal viewing distance/ within normal viewing time? (and does that matter?) I came up with an alternative - I could print the blocks directly onto the map - but that would make them part of the map, eliminating the spacial ambiguity and not allowing me to move the parts around on the surface anymore (so that's a no ;)). Maybe part of thinking about exchange is identify "those things for which an exchange is unacceptable (no equivalent)" Another way to look at this in terms of exchange is that the series as a whole is a trade of what I thought I was trying to make for what I actually did make. Hmmmmmm

Thinking of sequential art and playing with prints I tried mounting some of the tiny prints to cards. Lately, I've been having the inklings of a big art idea. Before committing to it, I've been testing some of the elements out in miniature and turning it into a game so that it will either become less scary as I work out the possible pitfalls/ identify and practice the technical requirements, (or I'll decide it was a terrible idea, and no harm done ;)...   

I got a better print of the hummingbird!
The key was using extender in the ink
more hummingbird/ playing card fun

In other para-art news - I painted/refinished the ceiling (oy!)