I have just completed the newest of a group of paintings I began over a year ago. You can read about them here, here and here. With this piece I am continuing the themes of meditation, contemplation, mindfulness and deep awareness and this time I’ve explored the experience of what the “inner” space feels like to me.
When I first conceived the idea behind these works I was considering how one image could morph into another based on the subconscious projection of a viewer the way a Rorschach inkblot is meant to work. I described my interest in the multivalence of an image and of the emergence of meaning that might come from interacting with the paintings that I had not expressly put there. Specifically it was interesting to me that the image of the portraits facing each other might, more than just “flip” to the image created by the negative space in between them, but combine with it in some kind of third composite image in a viewer’s mind.
The first ideas behind these works may not matter so much to you at this point, except to notice that the idea of three levels of the image- one element, a second element, and the third element that comes from the combination of the first two-is here in three layers of the painting. There is the “back” layer upon which everything else happens, the layer of the portraits and a third atmospheric and abstract layer on top of the other two; a back, a middle and a front layer.
As I said, with this piece I was more conscious of the experience of inner space, which for me is very colourful and full of texture and movement. These rich colours and mistiness is what I might assume others experience in a meditative space as well. In this painting I think of the three layers described above as follows… first, the blue in the back being the “field” of inner space, the colour that registers after one’s eyes have been closed for some time. The second layer, the portraits, is the subject of one’s thought which is has form and description. And the third layer, the mist, is the abstract activity of colour and movement that comes with having one’s eyes closed for any length of time. It is this layer on top of the others that symbolizes to me the third composite image that might arise from the combination of the others.
By the time I was finished working I was deciding between three titles for the piece. Dream (being in the blue ground of a dream), Breath (the portraits and the pink breath between them) and Mist(the abstract level of inner mind activity). In the end I think the most appropriate title given the rhythm of three that is present might be Dream, Breath, Mist. It is 24×30″, oil on canvas and you can see it now at the Jarvis Hall Gallery.
Thank you for reading!