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Comment by Resident Curator on August 17, 2011 at 11:23am

Thank you very much for offering your very personal insights into the process and content of your work.  I couldn't see the image clearly enough on my screen to make out the lungs in Number Nineteen, but I did get a sense of one organic form intruding on the other.  There is a raw energy and foreboding that guides my reaction, but as you say, they are ambiguous enough to allow for multiple interpretations.

Comment by Joseph Deiss on August 16, 2011 at 11:05pm
Thanks for the kind words. I've always felt that whenever I release a piece of work, its' meaning no longer belongs to me, but rather, belongs to the viewer... And while I'm aiming for a certain pallet of colors and the juxtaposition of those colors and shapes, the emotive part only begins to take shape well after the process has begun. The immediate interest for me is the process - and it starts with the plant (I have hundreds of dried plants, and part of the joy of making these pieces is sitting down in front of my pressed plant cabinet and looking and comparing). By the time I've chosen the little bit(s) of flora, I begin to have an idea of what I want surrounding it. The chemical process seems to have a life of its' own and I feel like a shepard, pushing the process in the general direction I want while also following where the process leads me. It's usually an intense six to eight hours for these smaller pieces (the two you've mentioned are 11" x 14" in size) to form and finish. I rarely intend to make a specific statement, but rather rely on the colors and shapes to evoke emotions.

Number Nineteen was more of a statement and representational than I usually try to make... The photogram portion is from two different types of plants - one with "sharp" foliage (also used in image Number Two), and the other with "softer" leaves and flowers. The third part of the photogram is an x-ray of my father's lungs, made a year before he died (from asbestos aquired as a result of being a shipwright during WWII - thus the tag). He was a well meaning and loving father but he had very rough edges... The last months of his life, due to the CO2 narcosis from his failing lungs, he lost his "German" heritage and control and became a much more loving and gentle person (and I, as his "other" son, was able to hold his hand!). The contrasting flowers and the contrasting lines and the lungs (the soft gray/green masses on each side), I'd hoped would show this dichotomy. For those other than myself, all I can hope for is that the contrast between these different elements would strike a chord. For me it has so, so many more meanings...

Again, thanks... joseph
Comment by Resident Curator on August 16, 2011 at 9:58pm

Curator’s Comment:


I keep returning to this work, being drawn to what appears to be a saturated heart of darkness.  The luminous crimson red is the implied origin of the glow emanating from the center, framed by delicately stenciled leaves. The foliage adds a natural but foreboding motif, as it envelops an organic figurative shape.  I like the permutation of values that play between the interior cavernous space and exterior boundaries.  The dreamlike passages are disquieting, but draw me in.  The photogram process seems to be intentionally underplayed or diffused- I don’t discern an overriding presence of a stencil, and so the technical aspect doesn’t rise to the forefront of my visual experience.  There is an x-ray quality, but it seems to be manipulated beyond its original representation, and maintains a ghost like presence throughout all of the works you’ve posted.   Number Nineteen is also an alluring piece.  The sweeping yellow orange texture implies living hair or fur, while the crystalline structure of the plant in the foreground provides a static counterpoint to the swirling movement.  There is an image of a sort of tag in the upper right corner that’s difficult to decipher.  And so I’m left wondering if there is content between the layers of imagery, or if I’m simply meant to experience the pleasurable concurrence of organic form.

Resident Curator Views

Ms Kristen T. Woodward critiques of members art.


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