30″ round – mixed media on paper, wood overlay and backing
Hand marbling paper with the *cowboy* approach I use sometimes generates beautiful sheets of paper that I want to highlight. The vibrant orange and deep blues and purples of this piece reminded me very much of travels in the desert southwest US, especially Rainbow Canyon near Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border: otherworldly, intense, and very detailed at the macro and micro levels.
I recently came across the term apophenia: “The tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas).” A related term, pareidolia, is, “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.”
While apophenia has a somewhat negative connotation, such as for those with a mental illness like schizophrenia or those with strong beliefs in conspiracy theories, I felt that pareidolia is something I constantly do in my work. Rather than finding faces in knotty woodwork, cars, or an electrical outlet, I often see patterns where they might not really be, and feel compelled to accentuate them with drawing, overlays, or subtractive processes. The idea of abstracting an image is one I practiced when learning to draw and create graphic design, but with much of my recent work, I find myself beginning from a very abstract starting place and tracing my way back to a more representational image.
I hope to continue this series with more pieces that feature very lucky, special marbled papers paired with simple laser-cut overlays that allow my pareidolia to share the visual connections that I see.