By eliminating marks and any other features that express the nature of the materials or artists’ gestural energy, an illusion can create a sense of first-person experience, of seeing the thing itself, for yourself, without the artist in between.
This gives the opportunity to present a visual idea as though within the viewer’s mind, like an insight or a revelation. A visual idea is presented as structure, and if the structure resonates for the viewer it can stimulate a line of thinking that fits the structure but uses the material of personal experience. Because an illusionistic image gives the perceptual system more to process, considerable unconscious involvement occurs. Because more bodily responses are triggered by the illusion of reality, the thought of the body is engaged. The idea, presented as though real, triggers deep level structures that represent a personal version of emotional themes we all share. Carl Jung was pointing to this when he wrote, “Image is psyche.” The patterns of our emotional dramas are best expressed visually. When I was a young teenager I was drawn to the work of the surrealists because they could create convincing illusions that were impossible in what people liked to believe was reality. I had a poster of a painting by Yves Tanguy over my bed, believably solid, specific objects in a dreamlike space. Everything looked real but nothing was recognizable. I probably wasn’t the only adolescent that felt a connection to those kinds of feelings.
The ability to make invisible realities visible is what attracts me now. It may not be possible to reflect on a new thought until we can see it, until we can wrap it around an image in our mind. The many ways we are connected and influenced by invisible patterns and fields of motion suggest new ways of thinking on a fundamental level. Creating images that give them visible presence gives people a way to structure those kinds of ideas.
Seeing our illusion of being a separate consciousness could grow from this. Our physical being interacts with other physical objects and as part of this filtering we assume we are separate with spaces in between us and an independent mind. David Bohm, Erwin Schrödinger and other quantum physicists suggest there is just one mind experiencing physicality through multiple windows. Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Because the umbilical cord was cut when we were born we have the illusion we are autonomous.” His lecture on interbeing points out how interdependent we are, how many things that we think of as not us are essential to our being. He reminds us that the wave is always part of the water.