Statement for the upcoming MANIFEST exhibition, “PAINT”

“…in a work of art every element, whether it pertain to perceptual form or to subject matter, […] represents something beyond its particular self.” – Arnheim

The brick is evocative for me because, in my contemplation of its form and metaphoric associations, it transforms. Its prosaic presence becomes a poetic musing on the human state.

A single brick bears a proportional relationship to the structure built from many similar units; one brick contains within itself an image of the whole building. This reflexivity between part and whole has energized the brick with symbolic meaning for millennia in many different cultures. Its presence as a signifier of component importance allows me to use it to refer to the accumulation of human knowledge: what we think we know and our attitudes about that awareness. The conceit that we can contain, format, and cross-reference everything knowable or worth knowing is widespread. Yet true understanding is often not as quantifiable or containable as we might hope. Bricks, as symbols, remind me of the good things we do, the wonderful intentions and desires we aspire to, as well as the negative connotations of the assumptions within which we often operate.

-Ballou, February 2010

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