Wednesday, October 21, 2015

An Other by Martin Honasan

”Why do we have a brain in the first place? Not to write books, articles, or plays; not to do science or play music. Brains develop because they are an expedient way of managing life in a body.”

- Antonio Damasio, Portuguese neurobiologist 

The human face is the organic seat of beauty. In it is expressed, in larger measure than in any other parts of the organization, the individuality to which the life has attained. It is the brilliant focus where the rays from within are centered, where those from without are reflected. It is the register of value in development, a record of Experience, whose legitimate office is to perfect the life, a legible language to those who will study it, of the majestic mistress, the Soul.

- “Woman and her Era”, Volume 1, 
Eliza Wood Farnham, American Novelist, Activist

In the study of psychology, a Gestalt is defined as something unified in a way in which the elements cannot be broken down into its parts and the total piece cannot just be thought of as a sum of all its parts. The idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” has been known since the time of Aristotle. In Gestaltism the phrase has been adapted and translated: "The whole is other than the sum of its parts," which suggests that the totality is a completely separate entity than its individual components. Thus, my work examines the concept of the self, identity or consciousness, and poses the question: What does it mean to be more than a container for a system of mechanical exchanges and electrical impulses? 

The physical language of painting—the gestures of brushstrokes, the manipulation of surfaces, the selection of hues—comprises a vital part of my work. All movement is anchored by figurative imagery, where facial details are grafted with textured forms, as if the face is a continuation or natural development of the patterns. Much of the process enables me to work across a broad range of improvisational and measured approaches, allowing me to explore both emotional and technical aspects of art making.

Every aesthetic decision in painting, as with all creative activities, is a physical culmination of experiences that germinate in the mind. There are no insignificant strokes, as each one is a result of subjective activity processed from a barrage of input from the physical world. Our minds contain layers of thoughts that elicit joy and fear, and shadows where the misunderstood parts of our psyche are locked away. These systems of the mind are tangibly expressed both deliberately and reflexively in my work.

My work is composed of two layers superimposed against each other, with two separate creative processes, executed from two different approaches, yet one process informs the direction and leads to the completion of the other. The paintings in this series are meditations on consciousness and identity as Gestalts, to explore the rigid dichotomy between self as a purely physical substance versus the human being as an immaterial spiritual owner of consciousness.

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