Josef DivékyWiener Werkstätte Postcard 494
In what other ways might the language we speak influence our experience of the world? Recently, it has been demonstrated in a series of ingenious experiments that we even perceive colors through the lens of our mother tongue. There are radical variations in the way languages carve up the spectrum of visible light; for example, green and blue are distinct colors in English but are considered shades of the same color in many languages. And it turns out that the colors that our language routinely obliges us to treat as distinct can refine our purely visual sensitivity to certain color differences in reality, so that our brains are trained to exaggerate the distance between shades of color if these have different names in our language. As strange as it may sound, our experience of a Chagall painting actually depends to some extent on whether our language has a word for blue.At first, this claim seems to have shocking implications for a visual artist. (Exaggerating colors could be perilous for a realist!) Earlier this year, James Gurney stated in his blog that we already have a an exaggerated awareness of warm colors due to historical availability of certain pigments, but he does not go so far as to suggest color is at all relative person to person. Like most artists, he would insist that perception of color is fixed and quite knowable, and demonstratively reproducible. The thought that someone from a different culture could see your painting in a radically different way, as the article states, is a mind-bending hypothesis. I am reminded of the classic sophomoric discussion of the uncertainty of shared perception which wonders if we all see the same color "blue" that we call blue. We learn from perceptual psychologists that many women actually have a biological difference that leads to a richer perception of blue. (Jameson) (I'll try not to worry how tetrachromats see Chagall.)
“…a thaw set in. The air became plaint. The beeches sweated. The branches gave up their heavy burdens of snow. “
In his book “Dog Years,” Gunter Grass uses a snowfall its subsequent thaw to echo the metamorphosis the story’s central character. In Grimm’s fairy tales, the woods and winter are familiar backdrops. These stories have never been far from my mind as I’ve ventured out through snow and night and found inspiration for creating my own images. In my current series of work, I’ve adapted this context explored by the German Romantics to the contemporary Maine landscape. In this setting, I write my own fictions through images. In them, the viewer reads the story of our protagonists, senses wide, straining against the night and the snow-covered stillness.