About The Art

The Conceptual in the service of The Perceptual

About The Subject Matter Presented

The artwork displayed on this site consists of two principle categories: digital composite paintings and traditional photography. With regard to our main theme, the digital work often whimsically plays with the fact that the advent and sweep of the perceptual process is buried deep beneath layers of solidified cultural sediments. These sediments squeeze forth our everyday thoughts and concerns reflexively— even unconsciously. By contrast, the digital compositions presented here require a little time to perceptually unveil their full sweep—  but once unfolded, they play with whimsical narratives such as 'Pop Goes The Culture'; 'Cultural Consumption'; 'Cowboys & Engines', and other seemingly nonsensical storylines. Despite their light-hearted feel, on a perceptual level the imagery offers an invitation to a still active process in genesis, or a curious juxtaposition of projected sentiments— thereby providing us a momentary hesitation before advancing into the well-trodden categories of  recognizable objects and their reflexive associations. By virtue of this normal reflex, we seek immediately, even amidst the budding perceptual construction itself, for "the meaning" or the interesting storyline disclosed. In much of my work, however, the subject is the perceptual genesis itself, and its rapid completion in a cultural context. In the end, the work is about 'aboutness'.  But then we are merely philosophizing— speaking about, and not actually having a direct aesthetic experience, are we not? (This is, after all, a philosophy-of-mind site). Although that is indeed the case, we have also pointed out that a conceptually guided journey, and not simply our perceptual participation in a fascinating situation that has aesthetically shed its conceptual constraints, is also an aesthetic experience— when it is capable of invoking the same solicitation for our heightened awareness.

If the normal perception-in-the-service-of-a-concept relationship is turned around so that the conceptual guides are in the service of perceptual experiences, or, as in the case of my work: if the seeking of a narrative (in the form of a recognizable situation) assists in the lingering of the perceptual unfolding of  a unitary 'space', then our reflexive conceptual guides attached to what those objects "mean" for us reflexively has been at least delayed and put to work in a different direction, for a different space, so to speak. The work can stand on its own again, there—in perceptual space.

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'The Gunks' Landscape Photography

The second main category of imagery included on this site consists of more traditional, and even traditionally acquired landscape photography (i.e., medium-format film photography). Landscape photography lends itself to a more transparent experience due to an easily recognizable scene (without an assertive medium or unconventional composition to "push back" and slow the reflexive viewing process). But even though the image may be perceptually "aesthetic" on its own accord, it is still linked to a rich original experience for the photographer— and it is even more subject to the ingrained reflexive tendencies of the viewer than are other art forms, such as painting. Even here, however— in the seemingly unambiguous presentation of a photographic scene— the overall thematic atmosphere of Anxious-Buddha strives to slow down the viewing process so that the more silent stratum of perception may once again rise up with its affective core permeating to retard our rapid scan-like viewing process with its hidden mass. This pull is how seemingly empty objects can take on an air of 'presence'.  Perceptual lingering is said to be simply Buddhist mindfulness or phenomenological methodology in Western thought, but we could also say that it is really only what naturally arises when the incessant reflex of our consciousness allows its' own self-narrative to be diminished for a brief spell, in favor of a heightened perception. The landscape photographs of 'The Gunks' have also been embedded in phenomenologically rich essays and derivative art works inspired therefrom — both available upon this platform very soon.

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Digital Art in The Modern Era

All of this, of course, lends itself to a general discussion of not just the relationship between the perceptual and conceptual realm of experience, but more specifically, with regard to their relation in the 'virtual productions' of digital art. Digital art is often viewed only on our device monitors. Some artists, however, utilize the digital environment as a tool for developing tangible works that can be handled or interacted with. With the increasing maturation of entire virtual environments developed, the natural intertwining of the perceptual and the conceptual— the tangible and the ideal— will be mingled even further.  What are the limitations of the digital medium? How does it relate to our 'real' virtual dimensions of thought and language? Each of these appear to "see" transparently through their medium to the supposedly non-virtual, or physical realm "outside"? But do they? Are they not already virtual, and merely increasing their layers by virtue of digitally generated realities? These are not straight forward inquiries.

See the articles and essays in the ESSAY section to jump into some of these themes.

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Every authentic function of the human spirit has this decisive characteristic in common with cognition: it does not merely copy but rather embodies an original formative power. It does not express passively the mere fact that something is present but contains an independent energy of the human spirit through which the simple presence of the phenomenon assumes a definite meaning, a particular ideational content. This is as true of art as it is of cognition; it is true of myth as of religion (and it is as true of language as of science). All live in particular image-worlds which do not merely reflect the empirically given, but which, rather, produce it in accordance with an independent principle.
Ernst Cassirer
The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms
Volume I— Language