Visible Anatomy Series, 2009 – 2014
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.