Abstract Art and Perception

From the Inside Out by Jennifer Davey

Joy 2016. Oil, chalk and collage on panel, 48 x 48 in.  Jennifer Davey all rights reserved

I was speaking with a friend this morning over coffee. I am always working to speak clearly about why I am an abstract painter. There were two statements that just came out of my mouth, and I realized, this is what I am on about. The first is what I would name a guiding foundational principle, I work from the inside out. What I mean by that is when a problem arises, I look to my internal life to find a solution. If I was going to carry a large spinning sign, dancing on the corner, this is what I would say - LOOK INSIDE. This is not revelatory information. All sorts of wise people over thousands of years have said this, but what came next is what put the pieces together for me.

When I look over the course and development of art in the West, I see a shift from looking at and describing the world out there to moving to an individual center that radiates out and is intimately connected to all of life. We've moved from the Renaissance depiction of beautifully articulated three-dimensional space out there, to abstract horizonless, all-encompassing, feeling centered space in here. This is a huge shift. And it is this idea of navigating from the inside out that inspired these new paintings and the title of the show "What You Believe is What You See." Biologically, psychologically, genetically, and energetically what is stored inside as memories, experiences and thoughts creates and forms the lens with which we see the outside world. We may think that it is the outside we are looking at, but what we see is based on our beliefs on the inside.

And what if you want to change what you see? You need a way to understand what it is that you see.  This is where the making of art comes in. As a creator of abstract paintings, a painting is a means for me to explore this inner landscape, the contours, curves, blocks, mysteries, of this invisible world. It makes the invisible visible. It provides a means to chart terrain that feels unknown, unconscious. It marks the passages of time and for me provides a horizon line in a world that feels as if it is free falling into the future. This is a very individual and personal path, but this very personal knowledge is also universal as we all have the same operating systems as humans. This is why I love thinking about abstract art in the context of a bigger lens - a shift in awakening of humanity. It is the same kind of shift as when we figured out the earth rotated around the sun rather than the sun rotating around the earth. Now this all sounds very dramatic, and in a big way I suppose it is. But it also is the reality that it takes a long time to process and adapt to this shift in perspective. Abstract art is merely one of the arrows, pointing the way.  

What You Believe is What You See | September 2nd - 30th 2016

Artist Reception Friday September 16th 6 - 10 pm | Artist talk at 7 pm