Human: artist statement

In this drawing I seek to challenge perspectives of time and space and what it means to be human.

Description

Like my other drawings in the Entanglement Series, this drawing also utilises the motif of ribbon-shapes: ribbons consist of almost-2D material that nevertheless create 3D-looking objects.   The image consists of a series of ribbon-loops of different sizes, depths and arrangements, none of which intersect with any other.  Each ribbon-loop object is a self-contained space or reality, each loop a particle within a larger collection.  This mimics the process through which ordinary matter somehow combines to form human consciousness which, although it is self-evident from our continuing existence, is not itself observable (at least at a macro scale).

So Contextual

The title “Human” is perhaps surprising for this work, challenging the viewer to wonder what is so “human” about a bunch of ribbons floating in space.  I want to engage the viewer to “dive” into the frame, to feel a sense of floating reality and to then hopefully notice that many of the ribbon-shapes are repeated.  Like humans, they are each made of the same stuff but are subtly different and behaving in unique ways: Are the ribbons floating up or down? Towards or away from the frame of the viewer?  Further study might also reveal that the ribbon objects seem to all be hanging from the same invisible framework, as if united by a common thread – this picks up my interest (inspired by the philosophical work of Daniel Dennett and others) in considering our individual membership in groups and whether and to what extent we have independent creative thought and determination over our trajectories.  Are the ribbon-loops fixed in space, controlled by invisible forces, or free to move by themselves in an open field?
My purpose is not to offer an answer but to interrogate our assumptions.  The frame around the image captures the white space and creates a sense of containment as a symbol of our common situation.  Being human means more than just existing in your own space and very much depends on your linkages to others and your common situation.

Practice practice practice!

“Human” is very much a continuation of many of the themes in my earlier works which utilise part / whole relationships and the use of particles as symbols of human group membership.  Importantly, these relationships are represented using graphite and careful shading effects that render an image in a visually-engaging way similar to black and white photography which thus creates a realness to the image that is completely constructed.   The other works (both planned and completed) in the Entanglement Series also use this style.  It is my intention that the Entanglement Series, of which “Human” is just one part, will be unified by the use of the same ribbon motif and thereby address interconnected themes of culture, society, politics and human consciousness.
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