Visible Anatomy Series, 2009 – 2014
The role of the artist is to create meaning through form and content
As an art teacher, one of my primary jobs it is to teach students how to see. I am infatuated with the way we "see," and the manner in which contemporary culture consumes images both visually and literally. I believe there is an important difference between looking, the superficial way we digest most images and seeing, a more profound vision that includes a closer reading and contextual understanding. Mechanical reproduction has forever affected and subverted the way we view and consume images and ultimately how we then see ourselves. I have categorizes the methods we view and capture images in three distinctly different ways representing both analog and digital image capture; 1) the ocular, the binocular human eyes connected to the brain, 2) the glass lens, the monocular camera lens and recording media, and 3) the computer scanner, a method of recording mages directly without a lens.
To create the source images for this series I constructed reverse still lives directly onto the bed of a flatbed scanner. My inventory of objects includes various prosthetic eyes - real looking eyes that are impotent and can never actually see. The eyes are combined with a variety of plastic anatomical models, a surrogate of the body that is then layered with reproductions of 19th century documents of the body. In the painting titled Scanning Stylostixis + Self Portrait, I employ an MRI image of my spine, a non-ocular technological depiction of the body. I augment the scanned still life with external illumination that shifts the color balance and enhances the reflections reinforcing the unique moving light of the flat bed scanner. This produces a rich, highly detailed image that completely bypasses any traditional lens and results in an image that is unique to this scanning process. Each painting is then layered with a red line diagrammatic structure reminding us that we are always looking through some type of viewing system to see any image.