six ink on paper drawings, 36 x 60 inches, 2008-2010
"[P]sychoanalysis is not a process in which an objective observer
collects data that are 'out there' for everyone to see in more or
less the same way, like a beetle or a rock. The data of psychoanalysis
are co-created in the intersubjective field between the two participants,
and you have to share the authors basic beliefs in order to be persuaded
by their conclusions." - Stephen Mitchell
My earliest memories are defined by the faces of my parents and those of the other adults around me. While this is not unique or significant on its own, both of my parents and the majority of their friends are psychoanalysts, professionals who are not only trained to coax the inner self out of hiding through observation and translation, but who publish academic papers on their findings in an effort to truly understand the human psyche. While my personal opinion of this practice has vacillated throughout my life, my environment while growing up, nurtured by professionals of the mind, has remained untouched in the past. The first questions I can remember being asked involve self-reflective thought and are echoed throughout my experience: how does that make you feel, what do you think about that? Over time, my relationship to the psychoanalysts as a group changed by the way of growth, death, distance and education. I am simultaneously drawn to and repelled by their professional personas, as I am both soothed and disgusted by these anatomically incorrect, densely marked portraits of familiar faces.
I spent roughly 900 hours over the last 3 1/2 months creating these portraits with the smallest tools I could find. The act of making them was simultaneously a study of my reality and a study of myself, and the technique I used was the closest I have come to automatic drawing, the surrender of the pen to the subconscious. Not completely without boundary, my process of mark-making was largely directed by ambient thought, by the places my mind traveled while meditating on the images of these people for long periods of time. I did not see the whole image until it was completed, working on a very small piece of each at a time, and as a result, signs and symbols become recognizable upon scrutiny. What I feel has been created is a landscape of my mind rather than a portrait. I think drawing has the unique ability to simultaneously provide the artist with extreme freedoms and extreme limitations.
It is my goal to provide three realities here, through different distances from the works. Being far from them provides the whole, unbroken image of a face, a monumental and uncharacteristically exposed psychoanalyst, as an objective eye would see it. Closer, my hand and process becomes apparent, my reality of texture is readable. Through a magnifying glass, the pieces break down into masses of lines and dots. They are suggestive abstractions and free for personal interpretation.
My experience recalls the distinct sense of seeing factories of individual psychoanalytic thought in faces from my childhood. The project served as a deconstruction of these personas, saturated with ideology and humming with analytic activity, in their own language. My work shares some key elements with psychoanalysis, in a visual format; I struggle to understand the texture of these subjects, working out certain truths about the images while letting my hand follow my own train of thought, uncovering hidden aspects of both myself and the other. Like the psychoanalysts themselves, I can simultaneously lose and locate myself in them.