19 Ways of Looking At A Man
Using found photographs layered with my original photography and collage elements, I sought to explore 19 ways of looking at one subject. Back in one of my past lives as an English Major, I was assigned to read a tiny volume of poetic criticism titled "19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei," an introduction to Chinese Poetry as it is translated into English. The author looks at one small simple poem written in Chinese by Wang Wei around 750AD and reviews how 19 different poets have translated it into English. It is a beautiful exercise in how people attempt to move thoughts from one language to another without losing the essence.
I think poetry lives on in the work I do today as I try to move thoughts and feelings from words into imagery, though at times the deeper meaning gets lost in translation. I took the 19 ways approach when I came across a found photo of a grainy, grubby old silhouette of a man in a dark suit. It struck me as a graphic, faceless representation of everyman, or even "the man" and all that a man represents in a patriarchal society; though "not all men." In an exercise in cultural translation from male to female language, this is me "practicing my scales" in a miniseries of 19 variations on a theme as a break between the other larger conceptual series I've created this year, all about women. This series, too, is about women if you read the translation.