Art in the Conscious Mind Reflection

In my own studies, I am looking into people and their identity. I am interested in how identity is manifested, and ways in which people see others. Before starting this field project, I felt as though my own work was starting to plateau but I was able to use these lectures to help guide me into looking at different aspects of my work.

‘The relationship between mind and world’; I really liked this sentence and topic because the way the mind and the world react is what I am focussing on. I like the concept of having a mental world and a physical world (Chris Frith- “the physical world is utterly different from the mental world” [1]), and how they coexist. I’m interested by the ways in which our own mental thoughts are expressed in a physical manner- whether that be by our actions, facial expressions, choices, appearance etc.

Francis Crick & Christof Koch said; “we are presented by multiple stimuli, the consciousness selects and interprets the most beneficial and acts” (1998 p98), this made me think on a deeper level about how important the consciousness is in terms of how we are. As well as how David Chalmers explained consciousness (2002) – he spoke about how consciousness is the sense or quality that makes it like being you. I am mentioning Chalmers because, in terms of my own work, his words influenced me to consider the ways that art can be used to convey the artists life experiences, feelings, inner thoughts. I personally favour art that you can find your own story or experience, but then you can also try and work out what it is that the artists is portraying in terms of their own life. In my own art, I tend to do this for myself – expressing my own personal thoughts or feelings (trying not to make it immediately obvious what it is I am showing). This is all about perception too, in the sense that you look at a picture in a certain way depending on what you’re trying to find. We, the observer and the artist, separate ourselves from the world and so bring the world and ourselves together in existence.

I found it quite a shock to discover that Turner was not appreciated, and in fact criticised, in his time because people were unable to see what his paintings were. Until being shown another of his lesser known paintings, where there were areas that we couldn’t even depict. I really like Turner, Monet and Kadinsky’s style of painting, and would like to experiment within my own practice. I feel like identity is very misinterpreted which can be reflected by this style of painting. Misinterpreted in a way that, a person’s identity can have so many different meanings and that people can get others identity so wrong.

Film photograph and acryllic. In response to the idea of Visual Indeterminacy, I made this piece that I tried to make it difficult to see what the image is. You don’t straight away notice the image of the turned back, until you are consciously aware.


The lecture about awareness had quite an impact on my work. I have some ideas of artwork in response to this concept of being aware of your consciousness. I’d like to do a Cajal inspired piece using watercolour/ acrylic where I record my own breathing and show where I become distracted. It would almost be like a record of a meditation session, the way that you can breathe a certain way then when you start to focus too much on your breaths your mind gets distracted by thinking about breathing, similarly when your consciousness focuses on something else.

During this lecture, I produced a piece of work where we were assigned to just produce (image below). Don’t think too deeply and just make. I feel like I was getting into the creative flow during this piece because I wasn’t focussing on the outcome as much and I was just creating. By doing this, I feel like I produced something that is meaningful to me and maybe I could expand on this piece.

In the lecture about the unseen, I created some work that represented hypnagogic imagery. I was focussing on producing work that showed the moments when your brain creates its own stimulus because it cannot see anything else, eg when you’re trying to sleep, or in pitch black. You’re awake and you know that these shapes or colours are not there, but we can still see them.

I also find it interesting how, within these pieces, I think some people may find objects or see something in them that isn’t actually there.

In future works, I am going to explore each of these concepts in more detail and also look into cave art. At the start of my project I was researching cave art in terms of the hand prints that they painted on the walls. However, this time I will be looking into the surrounding patterns. This relates to my own work because the patterns could be due to hypnagogic imagery – therefore each pattern was seen by that individual person, no one else sees it. It could be saying something about that particular person.

I’d also like to research more about Dorothea Tanning and her body works. I like using the body in art, and in a way that might question what you are consciously seeing and also showing the artists identity.

[1] Christ Frith, making up the mind (2007) page 16A


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