Meaning and the Right to Have Mysteries

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
-Albert Einstein

Meaning in life is created more than it is discovered. Our satisfaction comes from our actions, whether successful as means to their intended ends or not. It does not derive from the laurels on which we rest or the spoils of our victories. Thus, meaning in art has to be created by the one who experiences it.

In my work, the mystery of each piece-whether the inspiration arrives in a conscious stream or otherwise-is what is most important to me. As a result, I refuse to give explanations of an interperetive meaning of any work. Where appropriate, I will gladly discuss allusion, homage, history and influence. Still, even in my pieces which fixate on Man Ray and Pablo Picasso each image has been made for the same personal reason as any other: because I could neither explain nor understand my own personal fixation on the idea visually presented.

Shock vs. Fascination

Recently, on viewing a few of my works in a reception setting, a friend confided in me that he knew what I was doing was "...all for shock value." This took me by surprise a little bit. Certainly on the first viewing pieces such as "Peed" and "Comprehension" confuse the conceptual facility, but my hope is that for most people there is a value to looking at these works even beyond the reconciliation of the perceived image and the understanding of what has been manipulated in space and scale. This was evidenced by the tendency of people to continue to look at these two pieces (and others shown at that venue not featuring re-imagined primary and secondary sex organs) for any longer than it took to acknowledge their initial disgust. I think this value can fairly be said to be "fascination." The word "fascinate" stems from the latin word meaning to bewitch or enchant, which goes some distance to support the notion that the artist is the descendent of the sorcerer in modern, rational society in the sense that he/she serves the function of creating a sense of mystery. (Tangentially, I was delighted to learn in researching this etymology another connection between some of my pieces and ancient magical practices: a "Fascinum" was an amulet worn by women and children bearing the image of a phallus and used to ward off the "evil eye" or encourage fertility.)

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