The series “Interior Illuminations” was first inspired by walks I took with my dog Zoe around our neighborhood in the weeks before Halloween in October of 2022. I was amazed at the extreme and elaborate efforts that some of my neighbors made to decorate their houses and properties for Halloween, America’s celebration of the Day of the Dead, the time when the veil between the living and the dead becomes more transparent and porous. There were skulls and skeletons everywhere; some on porches, some in chairs, some partially dug into front yards and some hanging from walls and trees. There were Zombies, Ghosts, and Witches on every block, often featuring screams and loud and ominous audio, triggered by people walking by.
I went home and found some X-rays, CT scans, and MRI images from a number of medical issues that I have had over the past 5 years, and decided that I would try to make a series of personal self-portraits from the minerals and reefs of my skull and skeleton. I extracted them from personal X-Rays and from images I had received from chiropractors and doctors at Kaiser hospital. After making a few of those images, I was inspired to continue the series using my personal medical images combined with medical images from Wikimedia Commons, a copyright-free division of Wikipedia.
As with all of my artwork, work inspires and begets even more work; so the series continued on in ways I never could have imagined over the next few weeks, when the rest of these images were created.
I do not see images of the body or bones as frightening in any way. Our interior biological lives are mostly complete mysteries to us, as they develop and perform and evolve continuously without any conscious help from us on a day to day basis, especially if things are functioning normally and correctly. Without our exquisitely timed moment to moment interior biological adjustments and calibrations, we would soon cease to exist. Life is a magical physical, chemical and ongoing spiritual mystery!
These are improvised compositions, emerging a little like jazz, as I start with a loose underlying structure of formal ideas but never have any initial idea of what will emerge as the final image – It is a voyage of visual discovery into an unknown realm created on a blank black canvas using shapes, colors, patterns and forms allied with nature’s photosynthetic cast-offs and detritus as my art materials and inspiration. I like the push and pull between the foregrounds and backgrounds in these images – what appears to be is not, yet is, if you look at it another way, in a vision of mysterious visual double meanings. These images play with optical cognitive dissonance, where one can hold two different interpretations of one thing at the same time.
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