watercolor

Many Ways to Reach the End

22″ x 12″
Watercolor on paper
2017

For as long as I can remember, I have been experiencing a visual sensory phenomenon that I’ve named ‘Cone Theory’ for lack of a better definitive term. Concentric lines, which look oddly similar to the symbol for WiFi, form patterns on every single surface. Perhaps I will make an entry that further explains the practical applications of this phenomenon in the future. For the meantime, I’ll discuss the taming of its impractical side.

This painting attempts to reverse-psychologize my sensory input. By putting the lines exactly where I wanted them, I kept my brain from drawing them on top of everything as it pleased. To step things up a notch, the approach of the exercise was to find the lines on things with no distinct borders or edges—such as clouds.

cloudtopographyCreating a topographical map is a logical way to transcribe a 3 dimensional object onto a planar surface. These topographical ‘cloud maps’ or ‘cloud projections’ were then transferred onto watercolor paper. On a theoretical level, putting multiple physical boundaries on something as ephemeral and intangible as a cloud, or enclosing it within borders, manifests an abstract concept such as one’s ‘will’ into the physical world.

 

Enclosing these cloud projections in circles ‘contained’ the main idea behind them. The circle is a symbol of perfection, symmetry, skill and control, making it the most appropriate shape to physically demonstrate jurisdiction over one’s senses and self.

Since these original ‘projections’ resembled mazes so much, the finished painting resulted in a complex labyrinth. To emphasize the erratic lines of the cloud topography, I made the lines of surrounding maze areas strictly perpendicular. It was whilst painting in the surrounding lines that I realized that a maze with multiple options to reach the finish line was a rarity. Having compound solutions for one problem became another distinct feature of this work.

The mirror imaging of the cloud projection suggests that one’s actions in isolation differ from actions when one is within the confines of society. Would one still choose the most complex and ornery path when nobody is looking, or simply choose an easier way since we all end up in the same place anyway?

Subcutanea

Survival is intrinsic to our nature. But, mankind’s establishment as a species has overtaken what our bodies have evolved to do on a cellular level. While our bodies are trying to rewire or figure out another avenue to circumvent the energy intended for escaping that ‘saber toothed cat that has been hunting you for days’, we need to exert effort to avoid becoming sheep.

Our mortality is always lurking behind this translucent curtain of comfort we constantly try to surround ourselves with. It’s the sneaky little devil on your shoulder, relentlessly finding ways to do you in.

Although we may succumb to physical disease, there are still those less prominent mental or spiritual aspects of decline to consider.  Insidious things such as the idleness of the mind permeate our reality the further we are removed from the need to hunt or find shelter like our ancestors.

Too much comfort is a developmental hindrance. After all, mind and body instinctively pursue the easiest and most efficient way to do (or undo)things. Once one has reached, or is born into a ‘homeostatic’ state, it is more difficult to find motivation to grow. Hence, for those who no longer seek food or shelter, the energy intended for survival is in surplus. Its utility is denigrated towards menial things such as gossip, intrigue and the tenuous angst –byproducts of group level contentment.

Even something as passive as television incites the body’s stress response when in excess. The way mortality tugs at your ears with its cunning little fingers when your mind is at ease is truly brilliant. The best part is you’re not even aware that your mode of relaxation is physically harmful. So it’s better to think twice about one’s mode of recreation lest it might be detrimental.

 

21.0 x 29.7 cm

Where the One-Eyed Man is King

It’s always much easier to go with the consensus rather than slowly carve your own path in the wilderness. The potential of having devastating consequences or gratifying rewards are on both ends of the volitional spectrum.

Mob mentality is an evolutionary mechanism — Being in a group simply ensures a greater chance of survival. It’s therefore not surprising that the trade-off of monophobia is personal development.

How much strain is exacted on one’s individual standards when one relies on group experiences and group responsibility? This certainly applies to having a personal sense of morality. At what point does the group’s collective actions and decisions ‘peer pressure’ the individual out of their own moral compass?

Wanting to belong and yet distinguish oneself in the ‘social organism’ also makes its members either push wheel backwards or forwards. Therefore, a group will always precariously sit at the threshold of communally improving or spiraling into decline (I’m not talking about a band). Unfortunately, this also makes the group elect individuals who do not deviate too much from the consensus to represent them. It certainly has appropriate occasions, but this is also why we live lives of half-truths, pleasantries and gray areas to put things nicely.

Contemporary society’s ‘law’ has made killing each other terribly inconvenient. Yet, it’s not uncommon to see those who hang onto each other for dear life, simultaneously tear each other apart. This contradiction about belonging to the crowd without losing oneself fosters mental tension that drains vitality.  Are these strained social relationships manifestations of a new evolutionary roadblock?

Perhaps this is another expression of mother nature’s culling

 

14 x 10.8 cm