Caress Work (1987-1995)

The “caress” was an effort to imagine the trace of a finger over a scene, by someone who was blindfolded. Loosely modeled after Brancusi’s idea of a sculpture garden for the blind, this work sought to convey perception as an action, in this case, the trace of someone’s actions to identify what they do not visually perceive. With expressionistic underpainting, the works were about two types of acts – formalistic tracing of how one might touch a person or object, and gestures that are not patterned yet express motivational intent. Our actions in the world integrate both, although we are mostly unaware of this as we behave, and construct explanations of our actions after they occur (if we even do this). As such, this art sought to give form to the unseen, without attempting to convey an idea of beauty. The construct of beauty includes primordial likes and dislikes having to do with basic instinctual drives and their translation through complex collages of affect and cognition into the metaphor of attraction to an object and its representation (or our projection). Such a construct is an interpretation, and I did wish not to guide the viewer’s interpretation, but only to give them room to develop one. In this work, my interpretations were irrelevant to others. I wished only to produce a dispassionate portrayal of that which is hidden and very much active in our inner psychic lives and communications from it.