A few years ago, I put together a show called Mirror, Mirror. In this show I explored themes of self perception as seen through the eyes of others. When creating the works for the show, I wanted to include one artwork that used water as the mirror. One of the thoughts I wanted to put forth was the importance of the clarity of the mirror in presenting what it shows, for the clearer the mirror the more true will be the reflection. Or in the case of people, the more free of preconceptions or misperceptions they are, the more honestly they will see you.
Water, being such a motile and refractable medium, easily affected by conditions surrounding it, would act as a good metaphor for a person who is unable to perceive you clearly and fully due to their own internal and situational circumstances. For this piece, I photographed my reflection in a bathtub filled with water. The bathtub, being under a skylight, reflected some branches and leaves just outside the window, making the figure appear outdoors rather than inside. The light, being dim, was only able to capture the forms in silhouette. This worked very well for what I was trying to express. With the figure turned away from the viewer and the forms barely discernable through the abstract swirls of paint, the viewer is offerd only a small obscured glimpse of the person, and therefore left to wonder and form their own opinions with minimal “clarification”. In the second print below, I increased the level of bewilderment even further by turning the figure upside down and painting greater movement and abstraction into the piece. The figure is seen as through a fog, the fog serving to symbolize the cloudiness of our own assumptions about others, and how important it is to clear that fog in order to see each other more clearly.
At the time I created these pieces I was struggling with the fact that vastly different perceptions of me could be had by the people in my life. I understood that distance and poor communication played a large role in this, but in time I realized that the assumptions and conclusions they made often had less to do with me and more to do with their own experience and concerns. And I was left wondering if it is ever possible to see others clearly and fully, for we all carry ourselves and our experiences with us.
Water Sprite and Water Sprite, 2 , both 8″x8″ monoprints on 15″x20″ paper, are offerd this week at $200 each or $350 for both, unframed.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further info or to purchase.