Reality - The Illusion
Late one afternoon in the summer of 2008, I left my studio to have coffee at Starbucks on Gervais Street in Columbia, SC. As I relaxed in a comfortable chair holding a double espresso, I looked out the window at the restaurant across the street and briefly saw the neon sign in front malfunction. When it first lit it said "Libe," then paused, and said "Liberty." The first word appeared to be a nonsense syllable, and the second, the name of the restaurant.
Curious about this odd accident, I went home, researched the meanings of "libe" on my computer, and found a definition describing a C library that deals with data structures in computer programming. "Libe" defines controls in an organized system, and liberty suggests freedom from restraint. One might view this as a metaphor for the relationship between conflicting ideas, an electrical anomaly in a neon sign, or something else. I wondered about the transience of personal perception, the nature of free will, and the total of our experiences in effecting our continually changing and subjective view of reality. Each new experience changes our perspective to some degree, including the viewing of a painting. There is no one constant reality. If someone suggests we are out of touch with reality, we should ask, "Which reality are you talking about," or "what is real?"
In trying to make sense of the Liberty sign event, I became aware of the capacity for chance happenings to expand our consciousness. I attempted to incorporate the sign metaphor into esthetic principles I had worked with before, trying to create a balance between accidental events, conscious design, and intuitive decisions. My ultimate goal is to create visual metaphors for a transcendent existence, the dim reflection of an alternate reality.
In many ways form is an illusion - our interpretation of an infinite variety of relationships between fields of energy. In our search for meaning, our minds create images from these forces, filling in voids in our perception from the vast library of our personal impressions and experiences. We build concrete forms in our minds, but in reality, they are all fleeting perceptions based on our interpretation of vibrations of light stimulating the retinas of our eyes. We live in a world of illusions, attempting to assure ourselves we have a reasonable understanding of reality. Occasionally we are humbled by the awareness that the reality of our perceptions is not objective truth, but a creation of our imaginations, continually changing with each new thought and experience.