Network Ecologies


Early on in this essay I said that I like for a viewer to be "moved" by a painting. By this I mean that I would like a work of art to titillate a person’s senses and thrust him or her into new configurations of space and perspective. An excitement of body is an excitement of the mind, and it is this kind of positive provocation that I would like to suspend a viewer in by leading him or her through every incidental painterly gesture and expression. Stimulation prompts responses, drawing upon complexities of experiences stored in the recesses of our memories (those intelligence banks constructed through sensorimotor and idea-motor activities, to borrow some terms from Piaget and Inhelder). Visual, audible, tactile and sensual stimuli play on our sentiments, tastes and impulses. Jean Piaget says many times in his studies with children that it is their desire for the seen object that first arouses their interests and motivates their actions. Giuseppe Longo, too, repeatedly acknowledges that to want is an infinitive that affects all living organisms. Organisms, he says, generate movement through bias. No movement is an act of pure randomness.

For myself, mapping abstractions in affine has become its own journey. I was attracted to this geometry because of the sound of the word said aloud in my pronunciation of it (“uh-feen”) and because I could not find a suitable visual translation of it that could help me understand its linear logic. I liked that this word implied a geometric diagram for a figure, and this reminded me of the practice of Phillip Otto Runge, a Romantic German painter whom I greatly admire. The generative structure and movements of this mathematical abstraction maps spaces beyond traditional perspectives in that it does originate from a ground and its structure need not bear on its origin (by definition, affine geometry loses its origin in its progression of transformations). Visualizing these abstractions in painting allows me to suppose hypothetical ways of experiencing the world and imagine new possible trajectories for thought. Exploring them expands my intuitions of spatial and gestural relations.

As for the gesture, the allure of its mark in a painting is similar to the feeling of suddenly being hit with a new idea. Both are products of an immediate, intuitive act that cannot have occurred in isolation, and which cannot be reduced to its parts. Next time I am confronted with another’s painting, I will have this in mind: A painting is composed by countless numbers of gestures, acts that not only structure thoughts, but embody them as well. A painting emerges from the actions of a person and these actions express a continuity of life and a residual of networked relationships between painter, viewer, light, and color.

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