About my work

Photo credit: Amy Harmon

My work is about nothing. I only want them to make you reflect as I have reflected during making of them.

I believe that paintings/drawings do not have representative functions unless they are illustration, propaganda, or advertisement. To be representative means that there are messages to communicate to the audience, messages constructed within an intricate system of symbolism.

By definition, symbols are things made of external world that represent something else, something abstract (e.g., “green light at the end of Daisy’s dock”). So, to claim that paintings have representative functions indicates that they originate from the external world filtered through the lens of the creator who imposes some meaning in the shell of the object. Therefore, the creator controls the audience’s reaction with carefully curated set of signs and symbols[1] residing in these objects (so, the green light is not just a light, but it reflects the feeling of jealousy and envy).

In the essays critical and clinical[2], Deleuze defines art “… as an impersonal process in which the work is composed somewhat like a cairn, with stones carried in by different voyagers and beings in becoming (rather than ghosts) that may or may not depend on a single author.” In this definition, art is a collective process, with no single force in control.

I think search for symbolism in surreal painting is particularly prevalent because surreal art often mimics the familiar objects in the physical world that audience can imbue with meanings. Audience searches for signs and symbols to make sense of the new world presented by the artist, a foreign entity with different consciousness. This is totally fine. Audience has every right to make the experience of observing a painting their own. The problem is assuming that all audience will witness the same meaning, which is the meaning, endowed by the creator. This is contrary to the definition of art as a collective process. This is hierarchical and less rhyzomic, a view that consciousness is like heterogeneous and connected, ceaselessly multiplying structure with no beginning or end[3].

These paintings contain representative images, like windows, legs, bridges, etc, but not as symbols. This is because imagination comes from consciousness within, fueled by the perceptions of the external world. In Poetics of space[4], Bachelard states on miniature that their: “…Representation is dominated by Imagination. Representation becomes nothing but a body of expression with which to communicate our own images to others.”

I hope that my imagination and the audience’s imagination can overcome the representations in my paintings. As a result, when my imagination and the audience’s imagination mingle during the perception of my paintings, we achieved in sharing our consciousness.

[1] “Signs and symbols” not “symbols and signs,” referencing Nabokov who considered it a waste of time to look for such devices in his works.

[2] Deleuze, Gilles. Essays Critical And Clinical. 1 edition. Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 1997. Print.

[3] Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1St Edition edition. ed. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

[4] Bachelard, Gaston, and John R. Stilgoe. The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Reprint edition. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. Print.

[5] “2015 with Brian Eno, The John Peel Lecture - BBC Radio 6 Music.” BBC. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2016.

[6] Irwin, R., Simms, M., 2011. Notes Toward a Conditional Art. Getty Publications.