Friday, January 28, 2011

Thesis Proposal

I'm excited for the thesis exhibition.  I lucked out and got placed in the second group; which means I get three more weeks to prepare than the first group.  I'm going to need it.  This will be the most paintings I've managed to make in an single semester. Below is a draft of my thesis proposal.

I will be making a series of paintings assembled into three rectangles. The individual paintings will be of varying sizes but the entire assembly will construct a three rectangle 78 inches  by 125 inches aligned vertically. Each rectangle will consist of about twelve paintings of varying sizes. The paintings will be a series of glass still life and night landscapes.  The rectangles are meant to resemble a page. I conceive this overall image as a comic of sorts. A story can be told with each painting acting as a panel. I do not intend there to be an explicit narrative. The comic will be an exploration of light, refracting, reflecting and diffusing. I paint as part of an exploration of the natural world. I wish to bring to surface the peculiarity of every day occurrences and scenes. 
My current areas of focus is glass and landscape as a means of playing with light. When I paint I am not merely re-crafting reality as it is, but reality as I perceive it and as I see fit. The exploration of glass and light does not yield objective results but rather one possible interpretation of the world. I personally find a great deal of mystery in every day occurrences. This is in part because I know that no one truly understands the underlying mechanisms which produce daily life. Vision is a complicated process. When light hits glass it interacts with the particles that make up the glass. The light bounces back and forth between the particles, being absorbed and released. On the visible level this results in the path the light seeming to bend. When it finally reaches my eyes it is focused onto cells which have evolved to stop sending signals to my brain should they bit hit by certain wavelengths. These certain wavelengths are of course determined by the microscopic structure of these cells and their ability to absorb light is done is created by the same mechanism of the glass. When these cells stop signaling my brain my brain is given a lot of information. The wavelengths are translated into colors. The intensity is translated into brightness. This forms an image. This image is processed into things I recognize or things I don’t recognize. All of these processes are transmitted by the same mechanism as the light through the glass. Of course this is a simplification. One cannot say what truly happens during any of these interactions. One can only see the results. One cannot be sure if the particles one is referring to are “real” or if they’re just useful tools for guessing what will happen on an observable level. No one truly understands how or why anything we see can be seen or perceived. And everyone perceives things in a different manner. 
My thesis project intends to focus on the act of perception.  Night landscapes offer a sense of the ephemeral not found in daytime landscapes.  At night a point of light may be a surprising point of interest rather than an a commonplace expectation. The play of light among shadows will make the connection between the interior space of the glass and the outside world. 
I believe I can make my study of light apparent by arranging my paintings into a large comic. The works will be arranged so that the composition does not have to be “read” in a traditional manner. I expect the final arrangement of pages to be about 22 ft. wide. Because it will not be possible for someone to view every panel on the “page” from the same angle the shapes of the panels and the objects within them must guide the viewer to different parts of the comic. I intend to overwhelm the viewer with the light.
Everyday objects will be presented on an unnatural scale alongside landscapes and the light play between them will be magnified bringing attention to the beauty and mystery which can be found in something as simple as a glass of water and as everyday as a streetlamp.

Mock up. (The blue line is average viewing height 58") 

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