Multiple Exposure, 1999
Into an abstract field of texture a smooth sculptural figure is interjected. At odds, the one counterbalances the other. At one the two merge, finding unity. Two worlds collide. The nature of both are clarified. A pre-existing relationship is made visible.
Gaia. Mother earth. It’s rare in mythology to have an earth father. Is this birth or death? Earth: From it we are born, to it we return. All races, all men, share a common “mother.” We are only a small part of a much larger whole. In time, all return to the whole. For all our great deeds we cannot add one ounce to the whole.
The land encloses the figure. The figure encloses the land. Who’s pregnant with whom? The earth with the woman? Or the woman with the earth? A portion of us is made of earth. A portion of the earth is made of us. One gives voice to the other.
Inside the land the figure is transparent, an apparition, a spirit. Inside the figure the land is transparent, an apparition, a spirit. The land and the figure are echoes of one another, within each other. Michaelangelo said of his sculptures he had only to reveal the figure that lay within the uncarved block of stone. With echoes of this in my mind, I find the reverse is true here, too. We have only to find, inside the figure, the land that lies within. We have only to find the land within ourselves, ourselves within the land.
Ambiguity points to their inseparability. The two are one. In this image, a metaphor is made literal. The union defies the rational but confirms the irrational. It simultaneously acknowledges and denies duality. It stops making sense to make sense.
Ambiguity points to a complexity of interaction. The answers found here are not simple. Things do not stop at the surface; rather, they continue. Ambiguity does not always indicate a lack of resolution or intention. It can provide depth and continuance. It can do justice to incredible complexity. We are more than we know, more than a surface, more than a moment. Everything is.
Like the striking verbal conjunctions found in poetry, I find striking visual conjunctions whose meanings are not immediately apparent more compelling than those whose meanings are. In this image, the themes are all there, but they are found in suggestion more than in description. While the script is familiar, there’s a great deal of room for the viewer to read into the image. It is open ended. It offers many possible conclusions. It’s worthy of continued and sustained attention. It is not an equation with a fixed answer to be solved. It is full of variables. Its answer lies in successive iterations. As new solutions are discovered, a larger pattern emerges. I created it, or through me it was brought to light, but I do not fully understand it. It challenges me still. I know it will continue to do so for years to come. When I find an image like this, or when an image like this finds me, I realize I have found the seed of a new series. I know the theme is worthy of continued and sustained attention.