Sunday, February 14, 2010

documenting 7 years of visual obsession

It's obvious that as a society we are trying to understand love, a phenomenon deemed central to the meaning of "human." Some people write novels about love; some philosophize about it; some study it scientifically. I do all of those things but primarily I collect, interpret, and create images. First I sought to represent the connectivity of minds through the intertwining, merging, or melding of bodies. Like this:

Just try to untangle them in your mind. There's power in the solidness of the formation they've created. The following was my FIRST attempt at such a representation:

By creating images, I wanted to create a kind of love. I wanted my love to be genderless and universal, but the darker figure turned out to be more feminine and the lighter figure masculine. I wanted my love to be equal. But with the two figures indistinguishable from one another, the image didn't look good; it looked confusing. I kept wanting to define each body separately (by shading one differently).

Love seemed doomed to be two separate people, rather than one joined entity. And the shading created an element of race that was entirely unintentional. This was my first sketch I considered successful, even though it didn't solve my artistic or philosophical problems.

I had an artistic epiphany when I realized that my lovers didn't have to be touching. They are two separate entities drawn together by something else.

I later satirized my own representation of love. I thought love might be a farce. What is this mysterious force that draws us together but the language (words or otherwise) that comes out of one person and consequently makes the other feel something.

As entirely separate entities with faulty mechanisms of communication, aren't we doomed to misunderstanding?

The Lovers by Rene Magritte, 1928

As beautiful and simple as real love might be, the complexities of interaction still make relationships difficult if not impossible to maintain. Without a proper use for love, why bother having it?

Especially with the pain of separation that must ultimately occur.

Giving up on representing love for awhile, I tried drawing related human interactions. Desire for inclusion:

We cannot help the fact that we need each other to survive and even more, to propagate. We create social structures to bind us.


But in the end, we have to decide which hand we would most like to hold, and maybe it doesn't matter which one.


Most of us, if we are human, come back to that basic human desire to love and be loved. We try and try.

And as with most human endeavors, perhaps occasionally we succeed. Happy Valentine's Day.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Em,
    I'm truly touched by your interpretations and drawings. Wow. Write me when you can, I miss you. Your Pirkko