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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Friday, July 31, 2009

An explanatory essay requested by the tshirt shop "Eddy's," for a tshirt with one of my paintings on it, I wrote: "Written on the painting is that it is an "ontological essay, yeah, that's somewhat vague and sounds a bit highfalooten, but then that's often an effective trope to enshroud one's ignorance! I have had a long and ardent interest in the relationships among 'Being,' language, and ( little 't' ) truth--and, how these relationships might be explored in the visual arts. This painting addresses this interest head on by making language itself so explicit. Most folks seem to quickly decide that the unfamiliar squiggles, shapes and lines are some kind of language and not just meaningless abstract doodles. This is significant because it suggests that there is some innate ability in human beings to recognize and engage language. Indeed, some have argued that a good definition of 'human' is simply 'language making.' Next, usually people often want to know what it 'says,' and/or what does it 'mean.' There is a predictable assumption that language points beyond itself to some outer meaning to which it merely gestures towards; as if language is not a ' thing in itself ' but a mundane portmanteau thrown onto a train headed for some idealized destination where it is unpacked, deciphered, and put to it's intended use. But, maybe language is more than this; maybe it is the train, the track, the passenger, and, the destination all at once! Maybe there is no 'outside' of language, no idealized destination, maybe language always primarily directs itlelf towards its own beingness; and in that sense one cannot exceed the "prison house of language," as Heidegger wrote, not because it is constricting or confining, but for another reason, because we may not discover it's delimitation. "The limits of one's language are the limits of one's world" is how Wittgenstein put it, and in this painting I want people to encounter the limits of world/word, and then travel just a little bit further. Of course, one could simply paint all this on the canvass, instead of all those delphic pictographs and arcane texts, but then the explanation wouldn't really explain anything anyway, would it?. Rather it would merely obscure the impossibility of determining some ultimate 'meaning' or authorized translation. Now all this may just sound like a lot of metaphysical B.S. to cover up the fact that I just don't know what the hell it means. But I assure you, I believe a good portion of this, and reckon this is about as close to a 'statement' i can get.
Obliged, daniel

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