As I write this blog tonight, I am sitting in the airport in San Francisco, waiting for about 2 1/2 hours before my almost 24 hour flight to Bali (via Taipei). Wow! That’s a long time.
I’ve been up to a lot over the past few weeks. I celebrated the holidays. I wrapped up some projects at Oregon Children’s Theatre. I got all of my noses and masks that people earned as perks packed and mailed.
My boyfriend double checked my packing. He made sure I had enough bags, he advised on packing strategy, and he even took the time to count the tiles in my newly acquired vintage travel version of Scrabble. ( I was missing and “e” or two, as well as an “s”). He also had me photograph all I was taking. He is a good man, and thorough.
Next Up: San Francisco! I returned to this lovely city for a few days before my flight to Bali. Upon recommendation of the guy next to me on the airplane, I went to see the David Hockney exhibit at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. He had many beautiful drawings, paintings and videos exploring the same location in England over all the seasons of the year. There were also numerous portraits throughout the show. Some of his drawings were aided by the use of the camera lucida, which Hockney theorizes was one of the technological aids that helped the old Masters paint such realistic portraits (read more on that here).
This experience reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books about comics, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. In this book, McCloud writes a lot about how meaning and story are constructed through the juxtaposition of images– and furthermore, about how the human brain understands these images. He connects this to the role of abstraction in art.
For example, McCloud asserts that when we see the faces of others, we see all the details—and those details help us discern the faces as unique and individual. However, when we think of our own faces, we rarely think of the details, but instead stick with a general sense of placement: my mouth is about here… my eyes are basically there… etc.
I have often found this true with abstract or simple masks, or with puppets. The audience adds a lot to the performance when given a simple shape vs lots of details. Both ideas are quite interesting to pursue, and I have used both aspects of this principle in my work.
Humans seem to have difficulty not seeing faces. We project our experience everywhere, making faces wherever we go. To wit, here are some pics from trip in the Bay area this weekend.
And now it is time to take flight to Bali!