Recently, a collector who bought my "Dualism I" limited edition giclee print asked what the art work meant for me. I completed the “Dualism I” collage, line drawing in December 2011 during the end of a difficult time in my life . When I began the drawing, I had two people in mind but by the time I finished the piece, I realized the two people were really both me.
As with my dreams, the same is true with some of my art pieces: I work out my questions subconsciously through imagery. I slowly remove assumptions that cloud my understanding of the current situation. What I’d thought was the meaning in the beginning is usually not what I understand in the end.
dualism noun 1 the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided: a dualism between man and nature. • Philosophy a theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles, esp. mind and matter ( Cartesian dualism).
The definition reminds me of an experience I had years ago when I was living in Japan. I was conversing with one of my English language students. We were discussing the emotional conflict that arose when he had visited his Family’s grave. As he spoke about his “mind”, he would place his hand on his heart.
At first I thought, due to his misunderstanding of the English language, he was confusing the concept of “mind” with the word “heart”. But as he continued to elaborate on that conflict, I began to understand the Japanese concept of “mind” and agreed that was the better word.
So “Dualism I” expresses my divided state of being as well as the conflict that arises when my mind cannot agree with my reality. This dissonance is both emotional and rational.
At first, I look outwardly for fault. Eventually, I look inwardly. The struggle for me is finding what to bridge and what to destroy. Balance comes when I can isolate the common boundaries between my emotions and reason and between my mind and reality.