My goal of the past 50 years has been to explore how we see the three dimensional world; to get thru the flat surface of painting to the real; past the camera image; past “3d” binocular imagery; to explore the play of light on surface; to create real illusions and by so doing, explore and expand our perception of the real world. This goal is fundamental to the progress of art wherein the artist discovers the new and passes on the discovery thru art.
My intaglio reliefs begun in about 1996 are a foray into the vast and unexplored visual space between two and three dimensions. My reliefs are primarily “realist” because they depend on gestalt cognition: the eye recognizes the image of a known object created by an unknown relief surface, then must accommodate the paradox. We are child-like again, learning to see differently.
I view art from a perceptual point of view: What we see is light information reflecting and radiating from objects. We cannot see any (sculptural) object in its entirety. Instead we see varying relief images of the object as we move about it. And those relief images are seen in distorted perspective since closer areas appear enlarged and farther areas appear reduced in size. Perceptually, objects are merely a series of perspective distorted relief images combined with a learned concept of the whole. [see pictures below]
I have learned that our visual apparatus works differently at different distances. The eye has many different systems to gather and process light and color information: the eye’s rods and cones are relative instruments since they register relative light intensity and relational color; they also react to the matte and gloss properties of surfaces independently; they differentiate objects by surface detail; and they somehow integrate light variation and direction to create a holographic sense of reality.
The second to second intake of our visual information is driven by brain directed eye saccades, meaning that perception is experiential. Saccade studies demonstrate that each of us sees and comprehends somewhat differently; and the differences are in part sociological and sexual. The composition of western art is influenced by our method of reading: left to right, top to bottom; much eastern art reads right to left for the same reason. Most heterosexual males scan females in the order: breast, crotch, face; most heterosexual women scan men: face then crotch. Abstract painters have twice as many saccades when viewing an abstract painting than a realist painting and vice versa for a realist painter.
Perceptually, the artist is creating a series of saccade points for him/her self and for the viewer. Thus visual composition can be likened to musical composition, where the listener is presented with aural information in a linear fashion. The more one studies a work of art, the more the viewer becomes in tune with the artist.
Relief #1999-27 Foreshortened Nude 30" x 15" x 2.5"
Video Showing How Reliefs Appear with Changing Viewpoint:
Video Showing How Reliefs Change with Changing Light