Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
– Thomas Merton
A picture’s worth a thousand words. We dream in pictures, not in words. Our interpretation of reality and our place in it is our world “view.”
Working as a trial attorney, I learned that every witness recounts a slightly (at least) different version of the same event: we see through unconscious filters that shape and (mostly) confirm our story of the way the world works and where we fit in it. Our perception begets our reality. Our reality influences, even distorts, our perceptions. The Rorschach test, in which a subject’s interpretations of inkblots are analyzed, presents insights into a patient’s personality structure and may help identity the patient’s disorder.
Even if we do not suffer from maladjustment so acutely that we seek psychological help, our worldview shapes our identity, and we feel threatened if it’s challenged.
Today more than ever, everything is collage: the news comes in quick images, texts and tweets – short bursts, one after the other. The mind has become accustomed to absorbing information in fragmentary bits. The media presents viewpoints instead of reports, selective photos with interpretations instead of facts. An art form where one image flows into another, as in a writer’s stream of consciousness, is an apt medium for today’s mentality.
Collage, which appropriates images from a society and presents them in juxtaposition, allows the viewers to experience their culture through a different lens than is presented by the media, and it may jolt viewers into rethinking acquiescence in the current ideological order. A shift of critical mass in the worldview of a culture can change the direction of a society.
Just as a person’s experience of an event is private, subjective, filtered by personal history, so also with an artist’s creation and the viewers’ understaning of it. Other than the title, I have offered no explanatory narrative to accompany each piece; viewers are free to contemplate the compositions and create personal meanings; viewers can absorb the images into their own very intimate interiors and interpret them there.