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Learning to Count to One, 2022

©2022 Ron Mills-Pinyas

Tesserae @ .25 : .5 : 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 6 : 12 : 24 : 48 : 72 : 96 : 120


As a painter, I seek to form a wider aesthetic context in which adjacency and unity is found in the aggregate; in what carries across compositional boundaries and unifies what may appear to be fragmented.  Painting is, in this sense, a metaphor for relationships and integrity, broadly writ.  When are two things perceived as one? When are the many seen to be one, and the one many?  What does it mean to find consilience, to combine divers intellectual realms such as number theory, perceptual psychology, epistemology, ontology, the human desire to seek expansive poetics—and the imaginative and spiritual capacity to regard the many as one? 


More formally, I am interested in boundaries and edges, color and pattern, geometry and mathematical ratios, all in a play of optics and how perception may be influenced as the eye is invited to pass between or bracket multiple panels of various modular sizes and ratios; to jump and alight, to find alignments, to skip from one area to another as awareness notices and connects—sometimes unconsciously—similarities or continuities/discontinuities across panels as it switches optics between focal and peripheral vision; zooming in, panning out. I am interested in how the eye traverses one visual quality, one composition, toward another, how awareness jumps and connects, how it is diffused and distracted; how it reconfigures sight, associative groupings, gestalts.  How, in the process of painting, the hand, the eye, the mind (and all of its entanglements) may be in effect healed as One. This intellectual and expressive endeavor, to seek unity—broadly writ—is here phrased as “learning to count to one”; i.e. how we integrate diverse human  perceptual qualities and cognitive ambitions.


I am thinking about Edward O. Wilson's notions of free will and what he calls perceptual "qualia" that provoke the "subtle, almost inexpressible feelings we experience about sensory input, sensations and their related feeling tones that precede naming, i.e. redness before it is identified as red.  In this sense, I am painting about how our minds work and navigate optical experience, how our conscious naming of the word and establishing gestalts is established, delayed, invited, and entangled by the meeting of eye and mind. These thoughts dovetail nicely with Eric Kandel's work on "reductionism" in art and brain science, especially how the brain processes abstract art ("bottom up") differently than figurative imagery ("top down”).


Also see: Learning to Count to One 2018-2019

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