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  • John Reid

Notion of Self

Art…great art, is so honest because of where it comes from and on some level, we recognise this honesty and we crave it. This is a feeling often not associated with the subject matter or story line and this happens mostly at a subconscious level. I believe this is the point of art…to reconnect us with a sense of honesty and with the space that this generates for our notion of self. It’s like a strange and most welcomed homecoming...a personal and known truth.


So much of how we think is laid down from the process of socialisation, the placement of boundaries or guidelines that hopefully enable us to make sense of things in life.


Of course, we need socialisation otherwise society would be anarchic and collapse. On one side of this though you have total conservatism and on the other side of the scale you have virtual madness.

As an artist it’s a tight rope walk where to position yourself. The more boundaries you remove the freer your art but the more separation one feels from society. Where do you draw the line?


Of course, there is the idea that great art can come from limiting ones chooses completely.

However, with this approach the art itself comes from a sense of the unexpected as the notion of limitation is confined to things outside of the process such as materials or palette and not the process itself.


Reality is about order and logic. It has to be and so when we engage with thought we are programmed for it to make sense and be logical.

Creativity seems to revolve around the chaos of possibility and a strong leaning towards a sense of the illogical nature of life. No matter how out there and clever you think you are being in regards to ideas, there is always a logical visual thread holding it all together and that always puts a huge compromise on the surprise value of a work. It is this surprise, the almost disbelief of what you are experiencing, that seems to serve as a launching pad for great art.


Art isn’t the illustration of thoughts and ideas. Its not the literal story telling in pictures. I’m not saying it can’t be story telling or it can’t be representational but art has to lift you out of the literalness of what you are seeing. It has to dissolve the boundaries of a sense of the logical. It has to make us both question and celebrate our notion of self.


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