My work over the years has been stylistically compared to the Minimalist movement of the 1960s. The primary difference between Minimalism’s approach and my own, however, is the function of metaphor as a means of artistic expression. Minimalism is said to embrace “truth and reality” from an ontological position of reasoning whereby “things” (e.g., paintings, sculpture, etc.) exist on an objective plane of experience, that is, “the thing itself.” I embrace a more subjective stance that accepts ambiguity and impermanence as an approach to the art-making process. Therefore, my interest in visual metaphor to contextualize and express my thoughts and feelings dominates my work.
My approach to visual metaphor has developed through my readings of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, specifically the Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus, and my interest in the visual conundrum of the Necker cube. What I found especially interesting and conducive to my own thinking while reading the Tractatus was the unyielding logical system used to elucidate a conclusion that embraces the unknown and that, for all its logic, ultimately surrenders to pure feeling and humility. I find in the perplexity of the visual construction of the Necker cube an apt visual metaphor for metaphysical questions such as those relating to truth and reality. In this context the Necker cube visually and conceptually suggests the complexity between knowing and perceiving and also begs the question of the absolute. It suggests, too, that truth is often a “contextual” argument based on one’s fixed point of perception in even the broadest terms. My reading of both of these examples has contributed greatly to my work over the years.
My involvement in and development of the various geometric forms that I employ have been inspired in part by the conceptual, historical and aesthetic concerns in painting dating from the Russian Constructivist era through the present. On a more concrete level, I have found that my treatment of some of the edges with tapering lines brings about an illusion that redefines the various shapes. This affords me the opportunity to explore the nature of the object as a “thing-in-itself” through illusion, and push the viewer’s experience beyond the usual one-point-of-view of a two dimensional painting as defined by a minimalist perspective.
Included, and as important, are the development and use of texture and light in the service of visual metaphor to express the numerous experiences in my personal life. At times, this means less focus on the “thing-in-itself” and instead embracing music, romanticism, and a spiritual sensibility that also inform my work.
These interests contribute to my continuing exploration of how to make a painting, and ultimately, to how my art helps me understand my place in the contemporary world from an epistemological position, with all the limitations inherent in such an approach.
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email Dan Ramirez