confronting the Unconscious


From a series of paintings, this one percolated up from thoughts of the Unconscious. The great book by Ellenberger “The Discovery of the Unconscious” is about how the psychoanalysts started seeing this part of ourselves as a thing.

I am painting lines to suggest a power, a machine. I am imagining Jung’s dream of the Unconscious in his memoirs when he walks down the stairs into the earth, to see an altar. I am also thinking about the computer in the film 2001 attaining mindhood.

so these are the associations I have in this work.

LATER….I love it when friends see more than I was consciously aware of. After I posted this, one friend brought up associations with a part of the deep brain (the amygdala) that connects to deep memories and is physically located close to the olfactory parts of the brain. Smell is a strong link to memories. Synaesthesia is a fascinating condition, when sight is linked to smell, for example, or sound to smell.

Another friend felt there was an association in this painting with some kind of crusade. Well, it definitely does attempt to express the idea of a machine in the depths of the unconscious mind.


More Faces

Someone recently pointed out that one can experience the world through visuo-emotional synaesthesia. That’s a pretty good description of what happens when I am painting these faces. There is also a kind of totemistic allusion going on here. A totem is like a spirit ancestor or an animal deity, in native tribes. Modernistic faces are like this for us, a mostly secularised people who have lost their previous link with the old forms of paleolithic spirituality. For me, its great that art can connect my friends, whether atheistic or agnostic, with this kind of numinous experience. What this means I think is that despite where we think we are philosophically, we are not that far from totem worship. What do you think?

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