Reflections and Perceptions
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” —Aristotle
Reflections and Perceptions explores the intricate relationships and pervasive misconceptions between the self and the perceived self. Our reflected image provides us with the most immediate, and what should be most accurate, representation of who we are; but inevitably, internal and external sources distort the way in which we interpret who we are and how we appear. This series seeks to illuminate the inner workings of detached self-concept; by exposing the inner workings of self-image, self-esteem, and the ideal self.
Inspired by the work of Alice Neel and Jenny Saville, visual artists whose work foregrounds the truth over idealized beauty, this series sheds light on the impact of distorted visual perceptions. The increasingly heavy use of social media obscures one’s true self. We live in a world where success is equated with standing out, everyone seemingly appears to strive for surface-level similarity; uniformity prevails over uniqueness when depth and differences should be desired. My work seeks to promote unity between physical appearance and self-concept.
I found a mixed media approach best revealed the muddled nature of my work. I use watercolor specifically because it has the capability to express the flux and volatility of the human self-concept; its fluidity mirrors the ebb and flow of human emotion. In an endless state of change, we sometimes try to appear opaque; we build ourselves up with so many layers to create a vivid, bold appearance, a statement of our self to project outwards— but what are we covering up? Watercolor gives substance to these feelings while leaving room to see what may lie below the surface.
We should not require a Snapchat filter on our face to feel significant in this society. Inauthenticity is toxic and unavoidable in social media, leading to the formation of intrusive thoughts pertaining to body image and self-concept. If we only allow others to see the sides of us we want to be exposed, the cycle of pervasive distortions and factitiousness will continue.