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Archive for February 28th, 2022

Optics

GC Myers- Last Kind Words

Last Kind Words– At the Principle Gallery



Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns. This bare visual impression is unattached to any line of reason, it springs up as one might see the fin of a porpoise on the horizon. Visual impressions often communicate thus briefly statements that we shall in time come to uncover and coax into words.

― Virginia Woolf, The Waves



This excerpt above from Virginia Woolf had me thinking about optics, how the visual appearance of a thing communicates to others on a subconscious, emotional level. How we internally know our feelings on seeing that thing before we have had time to fully translate them into words or fully realized thoughts.

It’s a big part of being a visual artist. You want your work to communicate fully, even at a distance, before the viewer has time to think or comprehend what they are seeing.

You want that immediate electric emotional response that is beyond thought or words.

If only it were an easy task.

Apart from art, this also made me think about the optics of the unjust war taking place in Ukraine, especially as it pertains to their leaders. On one hand, you have President Zelensky who is shown with his troops and commanders, unshaved and in battle fatigues, defiantly standing on the streets of his besieged capital city. He also speaks directly and plainly to the people of Ukraine — and to the Russian people in addresses on Telegram.

It is immediately an image that one can see a people rallying behind, someone who sets an example that makes them want to stay and stand their ground. It is an inspirational image.

Then on the other hand, the images of Putin are of him speaking with his commanders and underlings in grand settings that have them placed at a minimum fifteen feet away from Putin. Sometimes, he sits at the head of a huge table, maybe thirty feet long, with a single person on one side near the opposite end.

It is a cold image, one that speaks of both power and fear.

It immediately brings to mind an image of a dictator who sits in a palace and eats rich foods– after his taster approves– while sending his conscripted troops to their death without a single drop of empathy for their suffering and sacrifice or for that of the normal citizens who will unjustly bear the brunt of the consequences of his actions.

It’s an image that makes one understand why, without even taking into account how senseless and unjustified this invasion has been, the world has rallied and united behind the leader and the people of the Ukraine.

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