The Reflections exhibit brings together allover paintings with “Forgive Me” photographs revealing their common origins in non-hierarchal foundation beliefs. The allover paintings have no horizon, no compositional elements to focus on, and no mark appears to be more important than another. The “Forgive Me” photographs are a cross section of society underlining the basic need for acceptance and love. When encountered together the individual pieces add up to a cohesive reflection of our own place in the herd.
Out of necessity we gather facts about the world and apply them to everything we encounter. We see a chair and immediately we project all our hard won chair information on to this new chair. We can tell if it will support our weight or tip us off should we stand on it. This database of past chair information comes in handy until we go to sit on a clever cardboard facsimile of a chair.
We do the same thing with people: we have to. We stop seeing the person and begin to see the character we have created in our own database of souls. We base it on appearance. What they are wearing, do they look me in the eye, how is their posture, are they fidgeting? All this information we gather and make an immediate assessment of that person, filing them under one of the convenient categories we hold true.
Trouble is our sight is limited. Our field of view is narrow. We see them from one angle, during one moment, in one situation and if they look like someone who has harmed us we have trouble seeing past that. This wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t depend upon our assessment skills so desperately. We make the assessment then we fight to maintain it; in the face of contradictory evidence we overlook things which might challenge our world view and focus in on things which support it.
While this fear of challenges to our views may cause trouble for people we encounter it causes more problems for us. We walk around with narrow vision augmented with filters of the past peering out from this vantage point projecting a myriad of conflicting observations on to the people we meet. It is a hell of a burden and one requiring constant vigilance.
This is where the whole “stay in the moment” thing has its source of benefit. If only there were a way to release the fear and encounter each person, each situation, each challenge as a neutral footpath toward our goal of perfect peace.
Thats where I am going with the “Forgive Me” photographs. I want to be able to see past my judgments and preconceptions to the core innocence of the people I meet. Toward that end I gather these portraits with the words forgive me reminding me to look past the unavoidable assessment process for a glimpse of the true person before me. Whether it works, or how often I get past my initial assessment, is not nearly as important as the fact that I have set an intention opposing the subconscious fear-based judgment.
The paintings are an abstract form of the same intention. There are no recognizable elements for my database to register other than paint on canvas. At first glance there is an even amount of paint on the surface and it’s only on spending time with the painting do I begin to see shapes and color differences. There is little to hang on to as the eye wanders through the field of color and shape toward no easy answers.
It is a telling phenomenon to find myself seeking out recognizable elements and giving them assignments from my arsenal of shapes. This process shared is one of the ways we seek safety together. Arm-in-arm we detail the things we recognize in the clouds of mystery naming them and feeling surer and more in control together.
As a tool for self realization the paintings give us plenty of reflections revealing more about ourselves and our fears than about the painter’s intentions. They are a sort of Rorschach experiment and continue to reveal things to the willing participant.
The result is like a spiritual battery on the wall. Any chosen day we can confront ourselves in the painting. Like a magic eight ball, the reflection we see uncover our subconscious beliefs and attitudes.
These paintings and photographs aren’t for everyone. Few of us are ready to challenge the subconscious drives. We have enough on our plate with the concious motivations. When I am ready they are there for me, waiting to reflect more of me than I am used to seeing.
These #forgiveme images are more for the viewer than the sign holder. Our judgements and condemnation affect us way more than those we aim them at. By holding the sign we are offering them release. Help us chip away at the wall of judgement which is the root of all human conflict. Grab the sign #forgiveme
“Reflections” at the Mount San Jacinto College Art Gallery November 14th through December 12th with an opening reception November 14th 4-7pm