Méconnaissance

This series of work is an exploration of the phenomenological aspects of seeing and the construction of meaning in an image by a viewer. An image is more than what we see hanging on the wall in front of us. What we see is never without bias but always entangled with what we bring—consciously and unconsiously.

This work was my first foray into creating abstract work almost exclusively. For the most part, the work I’d been making was representational or illustrative in some way. However, drawing inspiration from the contemporary abstraction of Julie Mehretu and Arturo Herrera, the surrealist works of André Masson and Yves Tanguy as well as the comics of Robert Crumb, Fiona Smyth, Chris Ware (and many, many others), I decided to pursue my own take on abstraction that was a sort of melding of all these different areas. Taking the techniques I’d learned and used for making my illustrative work, I applied the same processes toward more formalist ends.

The title of this series, Méconnaissance, is a term used by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, essentially, to describe a false recognition of something. I found this idea to be apropos since, while the drawings appear to resemble something, there’s never an intention to actually produce a representation of anything in this work. What a viewer sees in the work is not what I put in the image but what the viewer brings and is reflected back. To me, these drawings are simply lines on paper with the final image the outcome of an essentially random process.