(This is the second of a series of five posts describing my aesthetic or artistic sensibility in more detail.)
My aesthetic is Iconic
Iconic. Having the characteristics of an icon.
It seems a little presumptuous to claim my paintings as iconic using a current understanding of the word. Those things that are commonly thought of as iconic are famous, widely known and recognized. They have a quality of excellence that allows them to represent with authority. This understanding is close to the word paragon. A paragon is a perfect example of a particular quality.
I am using the word iconic in a more basic sense. Icons are typically painted representations of Jesus Christ, the Saints or other holy figures. Sometimes the images are carved or created with mosaic tiles, but whatever the material or however they are created, they are thought to contain something of the essence of that which they portray. They are more than representations or symbols. They are understood to be like windows containing qualities of that which is represented and at the same time offering a way to see through to the thing itself.
While I don’t try to paint icons in this traditional sense and don’t claim this kind of spiritual significance for my work, I try to make paintings that represent archetypes, act as windows to those archetypes and perhaps in a small way stand in for them. I am not interested in genre painting or illustrating families, scenes of people working, playing music, praying or meditating. Rather I want to paint Family, Work, Music or Worship. I want a picture of a mother and her children to represent and stand in for Motherhood, not to illustrate a certain mother and her circumstances. I am interested in essences and embodiments.
A large agenda!
Look for upcoming posts on my use of style and composition to achieve a sense of the Iconic.