I’m reading a biography of the pseudo-bear-idiot from Alaska-via-California, Timothy Treadwell. You may recall a few years back, the “Grizzly Man” living amongst the brown bears of southwestern Alaska that was mauled by his “friends”. Despite how much I disagree with his naïve approach to dealing with the local wildlife, I can’t help but understand his dismay with the standards of the academic experts/authorities on the subject of bear habitat and relationships. While this fool may have gotten himself served-up as breakfast to a couple annoyed browns, he was also one of the only people that has ever been able to recognize and document the unique characteristics and personalities/family dynamics of such a large collective of bears - firsthand.
I have a similar conflict with anthropology and the manner in which it takes an “outside-observer-only” approach to society. The essence of my paintings is held together by the manner in which I incorporate symbolic representations of experiences from my interaction with unique communities at the “artist-in-resident” level.
“Your standing so close, I’m not sure if those are my toes I’m feeling or yours.” – I believe that line is from the Tom Hanks film, Nothing in Common
Close proximity is not only the best way to know what motivates someone’s actions; it is the only way to nearly guarantee some measure of truth… particularly in art… but that’s another question entirely isn’t it? Is art ever really true? Is that what makes an image art… the artist’s own bit of manipulation as the representation travels from the eye, to the mind and out the hand. – DN