Thursday, January 1, 2009

Identity / same as:




top: murder of abel, 2007, Ken Weathersby
bottom:
john entering the wilderness, c. 1460, Giovanni di Paolo
click images to enlarge

I posted in November about establishing the common identity of literally different forms-- little panels inset within the surfaces of my paintings. These different panels are seen as being somehow the same thing but reversed or displaced (as in murder of abel, above). This has entailed using figure-like or figure-derived shapes, partly because their irregularity and lack of symmetry takes their sameness beyond the generic sameness a geometric form might have, to a specific sameness, a unique identity that makes different things somehow the same.

I notice that in Sienese panel paintings, the way figures are used in continuous narratives suggests a related establishing of identity. In the Giovanni Di Paolo painting above (St. John cycle, the Chicago version), instead of a simultaneous appearance of two young men (a depiction of two lookalikes, maybe John and an imposter), we assume the singularity of this uniquely shaped, sized and colored figure, project the element of time into the painting, and see not two figures, or even two distinct depictions of the same John, but the same John twice.

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